There has been a lot of social media hype around ISR (Infant Survival Resources) and at www.worldwideswimschool.com we are regularly asked for our point of view on this technique and particularly its validity for water safety and drowning prevention.
Our position is clear. Swimming lessons that allow babies and young children to cry or become distressed while learning to swim must not be tolerated. Learning to swim must be a positive experience for both parent and child. The child’s early learning experiences will mould their ideas, attitudes and behaviours around water. At www.worldwideswimschool.com we want to instil in children a love for and respect of the water as they learn their capabilities and limitations. We do not want them to be fearful, scared or unwilling to participate in water play because they have been traumatised during their swimming lessons.
Back floating is an important water safety skill. But developmentally we must acknowledge that once a baby learns to sit up and becomes mobile, usually between 4 to 7 months of age, they will not enjoy floating on their back. This will continue until the child’s understanding and comprehension starts to improve and they become more accepting of the skill usually around 2 years of age. Nonetheless, the majority of 2 year olds will still protest back floating and only perform the skill on their own terms.
All back floating attempts should be encouraged but never forced. Swimming teachers must use fun games and activities which encourage babies and young children to participate voluntarily. Fear force and trauma should never happen in swimming lessons. I am pleased to report that within the swimming teaching industry the majority of people hold these same values. For more reading visit http://www.littlefishesswimschool.com/parent-info/lfssblog/