ISR classes teach children to survive and thrive in the water - ABC21: Your Weather Authority

ISR classes teach children to survive and thrive in the water

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Lots of families take trips to the ocean, lake or community pools during the Summer months. And parents of young children should ask themselves an important question: can my infant or toddler survive if he or she unexpectedly finds themselves in the water?

If the answer is no, you might consider Infant Swimming Resource (ISR) classes.

Emily Nelson, a mother of five, is the only certified Infant Swimming Resource instructor in Northeast Indiana. She says drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children under the age of 4, and the classes she teaches are aimed at combating that.

You'll find Nelson in the pool day in and day out teaching kids as young as 6 months old how to be safe, confident swimmers through her ISR classes.

You might be thinking that these young ones can barely walk or even talk so can you really teach them to swim? Nelson says absolutely.

As opposed to typical swimming classes, ISR classes focus more on self-rescue lessons.

She teaches infants, six months to about 15 months, how to roll back to a float which keeps them safe until help arrives. Once they are able to walk well she teaches them a swim-float-swim sequence, allowing them to actually get themselves out of the water.

The classes are 5 days a week, for 10 minutes each day, and last an average of six weeks. This Summer alone Nelson is working with upwards of 35 kids.

Parents sit on the sidelines to watch, learn and encourage. Most haven't had any close calls with their kids around water, but Jessica Oertling has. She says her infant daughter was sitting at a water table and fell in. 

"She had fallen and was floating in the water. She would have been underwater if she hadn't have saved herself." said Oertling.

Lots of the parents have lake houses and pools meaning their kids spend a lot of time around water. And Emily Nelson will be the first to tell you ISR training is a third layer of protection. Parents are the first.

"CEO, constant eyes on," Nelson says, "You have to watch your children around the water. If you do have a body of water nearby, lock your doors, pool fences, covers, alarms. If all of that breaks down, which statistics show they do,  then they've got their self rescue skills." 

The parents tell us it gives them peace of mind knowing that their kids are trained for the unexpected, plus, they get to see first hand their kids confidence in the water grow from end. 

If you would like more information about how to sign up for ISR classes you can go to Nelson's website at

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