Swimming lessons for kids 6 months to 4 years

For more than 40 years, Infant Swimming Resource has been teaching children 6 months to 6 years old the skills that they need to survive in the water. ISR has taught more than 200,000 children these aquatic Self-Rescue™ skills with 790 documented cases of children using ISR techniques to save themselves from drowning. Watching your child is not enough, nor are pool safety gates able to protect them from every hazardous water situation. Arm your child with an extra layer of protection in the unfortunate event that supervision lapses, even momentarily, and he or she ends up in the water alone. 

ISR’s Self-Rescue program is an added layer, teaching your child water survival skills in a completely safe environment. Gulf Coast Swimfants is excited to offer the ISR program to infants and toddlers in Mobile and Baldwin Counties. ISR goes beyond traditional swim instruction by teaching children how to survive in the water. ISR’s program also includes comprehensive parent education on aquatic safety and drowning prevention.

ISR strives to enrich the lives of children by teaching them to swim and Self-Rescue™, thereby furthering their mission to see that Not One More Child Drowns. Nationally, drowning ranks as the second leading cause of death for children under the age of four. For each child who drowns, another four survive as victims of a near drowning and the associated complications.

What your child will learn:
Infants (6 months- 12 months old) will learn:

  • to hold their breath underwater
  • to roll onto their back
  • to float unassisted, rest, and breathe
  • to perform these skills fully clothed

Children (1 year- 6 years old) will learn:

  • to hold their breath underwater
  • to swim with their head down and eyes open
  • to roll onto their back, to float unassisted
  • to roll back over and resume swimming
  • to repeat the swim-float-swim sequence to reach safety
  • to perform these skills fully clothed

These safe and effective lessons are customized to your child and taught one-on-one. Your child’s lesson will be unique, and to provide the safest possible lesson, the instructor’s attention will be focused only on your child. Lessons shall last no more than 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week, Monday through Friday. In order to to master these Self-Rescue skills, the enrollment period will last between 4 and 6 weeks.

Your Certified ISR Instructor will provide instruction to your child that emphasizes developmentally appropriate skill training, health issues and considerations, ongoing program evaluations, and parental education. Because most drowning and near-drowning incidents occur when a child is fully clothed, every student, once fully skilled, practices in summer and winter clothing. After the initial lesson sequence has been complete, ISR recommends that every child participates in 1 to 2 weeks of refresher lessons every 6 months to a year. These lessons will help your child adjust their swimming and floating skills to their continually growing and developing bodies.

Frequently Asked Questions about the ISR program.

1.      What will my child be taught in the ISR program? 
Infants (6 months- 12 months old) will learn:

  •   to hold their breath underwater,
  •   to roll onto their back,
  •   to float unassisted, rest, and breathe,
  •   to perform these skills fully clothed.  


Children (1 year – 4 years old*) will learn:

  •   to hold their breath underwater,
  •   to swim with their head down and eyes open,
  •   to roll onto their back, to float unassisted,
  •   to roll back over and resume swimming,
  •   to repeat the swim-float-swim sequence to reach safety, to perform these skills fully clothed.

*The ISR program is for children up to age 6 years old, but Pamela only takes students 4 and under due to the size of her facility.

2.When is the next available class? Please contact the instructor of your choice to find out more about their lesson schedule.  Generally, lessons are being conducted from late winter through fall.

3.Where are the lessons being offered? Lessons are being offered in Mobile at 5454 Cottage Hill Road right next to Hayes Jewelers between Knollwood and University. 

4.
How much do the lessons cost? A weekly fee of $80 for new students and $75 for returning students is due to your instructor on each Monday prior to start of lessons for that week (multiple child, active military, and fire/police officer will receive discounted rates.)  Additionally, your child must be registered with ISR. The National Registration fee is $105.00.

5.
How are the lessons structured? Lessons are no more than 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week, Monday through Friday.  In order to master these self-rescue skills, the enrollment period is between 4 and 6 weeks.  Generally, the program for children 6 months to 12 months is 4 weeks, and for children 1 year to 6 years is 6 weeks.  All children learn the life saving skills at different rates; therefore, 4 to 6 weeks is an estimate. Some children pick up the skills faster and others take more time. Gulf Coast Swimfants does not charge for additional lessons needed to master target skills after the child has been participating consistently for 6 consecutive weeks.

6.
My child is only 20 months old.  Is this the right program for her? Yes, we begin teaching life-saving skills to children as young as 6 months. Once your baby is 6 months old and sitting up successfully, he can safely participate in lessons. 

7.
Are you the program that just throws the child in the pool? No! Our students are never expected to have aquatic skills beyond what we have taught them.  ISR never places a child in the water without knowing they can attain air successfully.  Once a child is fully skilled, we safely place them in water at different orientations to be sure that they can demonstrate the life-saving skills. 

8.
Will my child be drown–proof after completing ISR lessons? There is no substitute for adult supervision, and no child is ever drown-proof. ISR skills provide an additional layer of protection in the unfortunate event that supervision lapses.

9.
How and when do I register my child for lessons? All students must complete the national online registration prior to beginning their first in-water lesson.   Once Gulf Coast Swimfants has answered all of your questions about the ISR program, we will email you a link to the ISR registration console for your instructor. The National Registration fee is $105.00, which is due when completing the online registration.   Please allow plenty of time to register your child before your start date; at least two weeks in advance is preferred.  The registration may take several days to several weeks to complete depending on your child’s health history.  Also, you will receive a packet of information from ISR in the mail after you register that is important for you to read before your child begins lessons.

10.
What forms of payment do you accept? Gulf Coast Swimfants accepts personal checks, cashier’s checks, or cash.  We do not have the means to accept credit cards at this time. 

11.
Do we have to pay all at once? No, you pay your instructor weekly, although you are welcomed to pay in advance if you wish.

12.
Do you offer weekend lessons? No, lessons are structured for 5 days a week.  This schedule is the most effective for allowing your child to successfully master these life saving skills, as well as retain the skills learned during each lesson.

13.
Is it possible to only come three days a week and just extend the lesson time? No. Lessons are specifically structured for 5 days a week and no more than 10 minutes per lesson.  The short lesson time is for your child’s safety and to ensure that the child is not too fatigued to perform at his best.

14.
Can a grandparent or other caretaker bring my child to their lessons? Anyone can bring your child to lessons.  The lessons are one-on-one with your instructor and your child.  Parents/caretakers are not in the pool during the lessons, but they can be poolside to cheer and offer praise for the child in the water.  Parents are only asked to enter the pool for one or two lessons during the first week and final week in order to educate them on how to maintain their child’s aquatic skills.
15.Do all kids finish the course successfully, or have you experienced some kids who could not master the skills?  All of our students learn the skills listed for their age group before we consider their lesson sequence complete.  Because all children learn at different rates, this may take a little longer for some children than others. However, most master these skills in the 4 to 6 week period.  A wide variety of factors can determine how quickly your child picks up these skills: lesson attendance, teething and diet, illness, previous experiences with water, and their individual personality. If your child has not learned all the targeted skills within 6 weeks, we will continue to work with them at no charge provided your child has consistently attended lessons during the 6 weeks and parents have followed the guidelines discussed during lessons.

16.
What happens if my child gets sick and we can’t make it to lessons? It is expected that your child may become ill and miss a lesson or two.  Please take the time to get your child well before lessons resume so that he/she will be safe and healthy during the next lesson.  Any lessons missed will be added to the end of the lesson sequence, if necessary.

17.
What is a BUDS sheet? Your child’s Bowel, Urination, Diet, and Sleep, as well as any medications received are recorded on the BUDS sheet for the instructor to review each day.  The BUDS sheet gives your instructor important information to further customize your child’s lesson.  BUDS sheets are required daily for all babies 32 months and younger. 

18.
What do you do to keep my child safe? Throughout the course of lessons the safety, comfort, and well-being of your child are our top priority.  ISR has a safety checklist that is strictly adhered to by all ISR Instructors.  The Parent Resource Handbook details the safety requirements.  We would be happy to share these protocols and policies. Simply email your request and we will send you our safety checklist.

19.
What time should I arrive for lessons?  You will be assigned a specific time slot agreed upon by both you and your instructor. Your child should be at the pool and ready to swim 5 minutes before your scheduled lesson time. 

20.
What should my child wear during the lessons? Children 3 years and younger or anyone not toilet trained for at least 6 months should be dressed in the ISR swim diaper PLUS at least one other layer, i.e. washable swim diaper (preferred), disposable swim diaper, or a swimsuit . This will help ensure a safe pool environment for everyone.  Once you have completed the national registration, you will receive a code for one approved swim diaper that has anti-microbial protection.

21.
What should we bring to lessons?  You should bring three towels, your child’s swim diapers and/or swimsuit, your child’s BUDS sheet complete with the currents day’s information, and any initial paperwork that your instructor has advised you to bring (Gulf Coast Swimfants Parents Guidelines and Photo Release Form).

22.
Is my child going to cry? Every child is different, but it is not uncommon for a child to cry during lessons, especially in the first week.  Your child is in a new environment and is being asked to perform tasks that are new to them.  Babies do not have the verbal skills to express themselves and crying is a completely normal reaction. Your child will be looking to you for guidance on how to react toward the swimming lessons.  If you remain positive before, during, and after the lessons, then you will notice that your child’s crying will diminish or even be eliminated as their skill level progresses. 

23.
What are maintenance and refresher lessons? Maintenance lessons consist of one or two lessons after the initial training to fine-tune your child’s skills or prevent problems in your child’s technique. Maintenance lessons are usually conducted after your child has had the opportunity to swim independent of his instructor.  Refresher lessons are a condensed version of the initial sequence of lessons and usually last one to two weeks.  Your child has not forgotten the skills he has learned, however, his body has grown and his center of gravity has likely changed since the initial sequence. Refresher lessons help to ensure that he can perform the skills well and with confidence.  As your child grows, it is important that his skills grow with him.

Please visit www.infantswim.com for more information, or call Pamela McPherson at (251) 391-4799.

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