Meet the certified instructor who will be working with your child.


Take a peak into how your child will be trained and the techniques used to train them.


Hear what the parents have to say about the program and share their stories of thankfulness.

Frequently Asked

Are swimming lessons for infants and young children safe?

YES! ISR’s Self-Rescue™ program is dedicated to safety and maintains numerous safety protocols to promote safe lessons. Your child’s health and well-being are our highest priority and are closely monitored on a daily basis. In addition, your child’s medical and developmental history is a mandatory part of the ISR National Registration process, all of which is held strictly confidential. All ISR Instructors undergo an intensive 8 week, in-water and academic training program that includes child psychology, physiology and behavioral science. Each ISR Instructor is also required to attend a yearly re-certification that includes quality control as well as continuing education. Your education in the area of aquatic safety for your entire family is an integral part of your child’s lessons. You will receive access to the “Parent Resource Guide”, written by Dr. Harvey Barnett and JoAnn Barnett, which will inform you of every aspect of swimming for infants and children. With research, you will find that ISR is the safest survival swimming program and also the most effective for teaching infants and young children.

How can you teach babies and young children to swim?

ISR Instructors teach infants to swim by honoring each child’s individual strengths and experiences. They understand the fundamentals of the behavioral sciences, child development and sensori-motor learning as it relates to the acquisition of aquatic survival skills. They use those skills to educate and guide your child through the sequence of learning to swim and float.

Can you really teach a child who is not verbal how to swim?

YES! Consider that children learn to sit, crawl and walk before they learn to speak. Because we teach through sensori-motor learning, verbal skills are not required for a child to acquire Self-Rescue™ skills. We are able to communicate with our students through touch and positive reinforcement while striving to set our students up for success every step of the way!

How do you teach them to hold their breath?

Breath holding skills are taught in the first lesson. We shape breath control using highly effective positive reinforcement techniques. We can continue to reinforce these breath-holding techniques throughout every lesson.

How is it that babies can learn to respond to danger of water when they fall in?

A baby does not need to perceive danger or be afraid to respond appropriately to being under water. If a baby has learned to roll over and float when he needs air, he doesn’t need to perceive danger in order to respond in this manner. He needs skill, practice and confidence to calmly deal with the situation.

Why are lessons 5 days per week and for only 10 minutes?

The reason for this is multifaceted. First, repetition and consistency are crucial elements of learning for young children. Research shows that short, more frequent lessons result in higher retention. Second, most children have fairly short attention spans, and will not be able to focus on a task for an extended period of time; we want to take advantage of the most opportune time period for learning. A third reason is that, although the pool temperature is maintained between 78-88 degrees, the temperature is still lower than your child’s body temperature. Lessons are work and therefore your child will also be losing body heat. Instructors check students regularly for temperature fatigue since this is an indicator of physical fatigue.

How do children react during the first few lessons?

Children often fuss during the first few lessons because they are in a new environment, learning something new and around new people. As your child becomes more confident in his or her ability in the water, the fussing will likely diminish.

It is not unlike the first time you tried a new endeavor or were asked to perform a task that you’d never done before; the first time is challenging until you get the hang of it. It is the same for your child. Your child is learning to perform a skill that he or she has never done before.

Will my child fear the water because of lessons?

There is an important difference between being fearful and being apprehensive because you are not yet skilled in a new environment. ISR is not like traditional swim lessons; it is a drowning prevention program that teaches survival swimming. Sometimes, as a parent, you make choices for your child’s safety; like sitting in a car seat, because you know they’re important. The same can be said for ISR.

FUN can be defined as when SKILL meets CHALLENGE! Once competent in their skills, many children are difficult to get OUT of the pool because they’re having so much fun!

What do Physicians say about swimming lessons?

In May of 2010, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) changed its policy regarding the age at which children may start swimming lessons. This decision was based on research stating that swim lessons may actually provide a reduction in the drowning risk of children ages 1-4 years old. That study, Association Between Swimming Lessons and Childhood Drowning published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, March, 2009, by Brenner et. al. was the first study to probe the relationship between drowning reduction and swimming skills.

The AAP encourages parents to consider starting water survival skills training at an early age and that this decision should be individualized based on the child’s frequency of exposure to water, emotional maturity, physical limitations and health concerns related to swimming pools.

Why do you have children swim in clothes?

86% of children who fall in the water do so fully clothed. We want our students to have had experience with such a situation. If a child has experienced the sensations of being in the water in clothing prior to an emergency situation, he or she is less likely to panic and then able to focus on the task at hand; survival!

Why don’t parents participate in the water during lessons?

We do not want the baby to initially associate the water with the love, attention and affection of the parent while in the water. Also, it takes incredible concentration and objectivity to teach the baby how to respond to an aquatic emergency and our research shows that parents often find it too difficult to be objective and be effective teachers with their own children in the water. However, your Instructor may ask you (if you’re interested) to participate in an occasional lesson to facilitate your swimming experiences at home with your child.

Will my child need additional lessons?

Based on our research, we know that refresher lessons are important because children change so much both cognitively and physically during the first 4-5 years of life. It is important that their water survival skills grow with their bodies.

Frequency depends on the child’s age, growth rate, skill level and confidence level. The goal of refresher lessons is to help your child adjust his or her new body size and weight to his or her existing skill level. Your Instructor will work with your child to help fine tune his or her aquatic experience to assist with building efficiency, which will result in self-confidence. This is especially important if your child has not been able to practice any appropriate aquatic skills between seasons.

© 2011 Sarasota Swim Kids & Infant Swimming Resource (ISR)