What is Infant Swimming Resource?
ISR was founded in 1966 by Dr. Harvey Barnett and is now recognized as the global leader in providing survival swimming lessons for infants and young children. The ISR team consists of over 800 highly trained Instructors who provide the safest and most effective survival swimming lessons available. The ISR Self-Rescue® instruction which students receive today is the product of 50+ years of research and achieves unparalleled results.
ISR believes pool fences, supervision, and pool alarms are important parts of a necessary multi-layered approach to preventing children from drowning. However, traditional lines of defense break down, and the over 4,000 drowning deaths per year bear a grim testament to the fact that traditional approaches are missing a key component: the child. ISR’s core conviction is that the child is the most important part of a drowning prevention strategy and our over 300,000 ISR graduates and 800 documented survival stories are proof that children can save themselves. Children are curious, capable, and have an uncanny ability to overcome obstacles like pool fences; at ISR we teach them skills to save themselves if they fall in the water alone.
What Will My Child Learn?
Infants 6 Months-Till They're Walking
Because the sooner the safer!
Our program will teach your child breath control, correct floating posture and the ISR Self-Rescue skill of rolling onto their backs to float, rest and breathe until help arrives. These students learn basic survival skills, then are brought back at an older age to learn our Swim-Float-Swim sequence, which they already know a portion of.
Children walking - 6years old
Older, more mobile children will learn the full ISR Self-Rescue sequence of swimming until they need air, rotating onto the back to float, then rolling back over to continue swimming. ISR students are taught to repeat this sequence until they reach the safety of the steps, side of the pool, or the shoreline.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are lessons 10 minutes?
Our number one reason is always safety. Lessons are mentally and physically demanding for little ones and we never want to fatigue or exhaust them. For their little bodies this can be quite a difficult workout, so we make sure to limit that time as we want to be sure to see them the next day. No one goes back to the gym after a brutal leg day, right?
The second reason is for retention of skills. Research shows that short, more frequent lessons result in higher retention. In addition, it has been proven that children in this age range attain skills best within the first 10 minutes. We're sure you know that the attention span for little ones can be quite short.
Why are lessons 5 days a week?
We know 5 days a week might seem daunting, but we promise it’s worth it. Like we said before, ISR Self-Rescue® Skills are developed just like any other sensorimotor skill. When learning to walk, crawl, or even ride a bike it’s the practice and repetition that makes for success. Imagine if you only had worked on those skills once a week?
Practicing ISR Self-Rescue® Skills on a consistent basis allows for muscle memory to form. Muscle memory is what allows your child to Self-Rescue as soon as they hit the water
Are these group lessons?
All ISR lessons are one-on-one and individualized for each student. This means we never have more than one student in the water at a time and keep a 1:1 student to instructor ratio.
Do parents get in the water?
Parents do not get in the pool for lessons, however we encourage them to sit poolside and cheer on their little ones, as you're their support team.
Our research shows that parents find it difficult to be objective and effective teachers in the water, which is exactly why we are here to help your little one master their ISR Self-Rescue® Skills.
Parents are invited into the pool during the last week of lessons (this will be discussed with your Instructor beforehand). During this time we teach you how to maintain your child’s new skills while in the water and how to properly promote their ISR Self-Rescue® Skills.
Where are you located and hours?
I primarily serve Bethesda, Potomac, Rockville and surrounding areas.
I work out of the Embassy Suites Hilton on Democracy Blvd in Bethesda.
I am working mainly in the mornings from 7am-10am. I am the only instructor in this area that starts this early.
Will my child need to come back after the initial session?
Yes, ISR recommends Maintenance or Refresher lessons
Refresher lessons are every 6 months due to rapid growth which can change their skills and take 1 - 2 weeks to complete
Maintenance lessons for those who want to keep their child in the water regularly. Students can come once a week, twice a week, once a month, etc.
Will my child forget these skills?
It’s important to remember that ISR Self-Rescue® Skills are a sensorimotor skill, just like crawling, walking, or riding a bike. The less you use these skills the rustier they get, but that doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten them.
This is why Refresher and Maintenance lessons are important and encouraged, as they help keep their skills sharp. Remember, the more your child uses their newly learned skills, the less likely they are to get “wonky”.
ISR has shown a retention rate of 94-100% up to one year following lessons.
Will my child cry during lessons?
For most children crying is developmentally appropriate and their only way of communicating. Typically, once your child gains confidence with their new skills the crying diminishes. Instructors are used to this behavior so don't be concerned about tears interfering with lessons.
Learning new skills, with a new person, in a new environment; honestly who wouldn’t be upset at first? The cry we hear oftentimes in the water is the same cry you get when you take away a toy, don’t let them eat dirt, or even put them in their car seat. It’s a protest and their way of saying they aren’t happy to be here. Remember this is their way of communicating with us since most children are not yet verbal.
We like to tell parents/guardians that if you can make it through the first couple of weeks, it gets easier. Remember everyday at lessons is another day of building in-water confidence and another day closer to your child being fully skilled. You got this!
Will my child hate the water?
There is a big difference between being fearful and being apprehensive in an unfamiliar environment. If you take your child to a pool after they’ve been in lessons with us, they most likely won’t cry. But, if you were to take them to the exact same pool and they see us, now that’s a different story. They know we make them work hard and who voluntarily wants to do that?
ISR is not like traditional swim lessons; it is a drowning prevention program that teaches survival swimming. Your child may not happily skip to his or her ISR lessons each day at first, but that's okay.
Sometimes as a parent you make sure your child does things for his or her SAFETY because you know they are important and the best thing for them. The same can be said for ISR.
Why does ISR need my child's medical information?
The medical registration ($105) allows our medical team to review each student before they start lessons. Our Registration Evaluation Team (RET) must approve each student prior to the start date. This allows ISR to work together with their Instructors to provide the safest lesson for each student.
Infant Swimming Resource, LLC ("ISR") complies with all federal and state laws and regulations and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion or disability. It is the policy of ISR to provide reasonable accommodations to its disabled applicants and students, with the provision of appropriate documentation of the need for the accommodation.
ISR’s mission of “Not One More Child Drowns” pertains to EVERY child. It’s our job to provide EVERY child with ISR Self-Rescue® skills, and to provide those skills safely and adequately for each child.
Do you teach children with disabilities?
Drowning isn’t specific with its victims and can take the life of any child who doesn’t know how to save themselves. Our mission of ‘Not One More Child Drowns” means we believe ISR lessons are for EVERY child.
Our team of medical professionals evaluates every student’s medical history and communicates with Instructors on the precautions needed to make each lesson as safe as possible. Since all lessons are one-on-one we are able to tailor lessons to each and every child.
How is ISR different than traditional swim lessons?
ISR is the product of over 50+ years of ongoing research.
Rather than blow bubbles and sing songs, our primary focus is to make sure each student can SURVIVE in the water and be an aquatic problem solver. We give them real life situations, like using their skills in full clothing, to make sure they are prepared for a real life drowning scenario.
Our goal is to always do what is safest for each child and what is best for their survival.
Is ISR safe for infants and young children?
ISR is dedicated to safety, and maintains numerous safety protocols to promote safe lessons. Your child’s health and well-being 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 and rigorous training program that far exceeds any other training program of this kind. Each ISR Instructor is also required to attend yearly conferences, and undergo an extensive re-certification process. Your education in the area of aquatic safety for your entire family is an integral part of your child’s lessons, as well.
Consider these additional points:
No child is ever thrown into the pool.
A child is never submerged for more than seven (7) seconds.
ISR Instructors monitor your child for temperature and muscular fatigue, as well as physical and psychological well-being throughout the entire lesson.
Your child’s daily routines outside of ISR lessons hold valuable data for your instructor and you will receive instruction on how to communicate this information to your instructor.
What training do ISR instructors have?
Each Instructor has gone through multiple interviews with the ISR team before accepted into training. Each ISR Instructor has spent a minimum of 6-8 weeks in the water working beside a Master Instructor and/or Senior Master Instructor, gradually taking more and more responsibility for each child’s lesson. Also, there is academic work that includes behavioral psychology, anatomy, physiology, and ISR proven techniques through sensory motor learning.
Each Instructor is required to maintain certifications in First Aid and CPR for Healthcare Providers. In addition, each Instructor is required to attend the ISR National Re-certification Conference each year for continuing education about every facet of ISR, as well as quality control and quality assurance.
I often joke that ISR training was more intense than nursing school.
You say your priority is survival skills. Will my child learn how to swim?
At ISR, we believe that part of survival for a child who can walk is swimming.
Children who are walking will learn the swim-float-swim sequence so that they can get themselves to safety. ISR will teach them swimming AND survival skills, as well as how to be an aquatic problem solver.
Why do children swim in clothes the last week?
Most children who fall in the water do so fully clothed, when they are not dressed for a day at the pool.
We want our students to have experience with this situation, with an instructor right there with them. If a child has experienced the sensations of being in the water in clothing prior to an emergency situation, they are less likely to panic and be able to focus on the task at hand.
If you have ever jumped in the water with clothes on, you know there is a significant difference in weight and feel, as opposed to a bathing suit.
Why does it take 6 to 8 weeks for my child to learn these skills?
6 to 8 weeks is an estimate.
The length of the course is individualized based on the time it takes for your child to learn survival skills. Every child is unique and ISR’s Self-Rescue® program is specifically designed based on your child’s individual strengths and needs. It is important to understand that this is an average which means that some children will actually finish more quickly while others will need more practice.
ISR is dedicated to safety and, therefore, we want to provide your child with the time and best opportunity to become proficient in his/her survival skills. We will always honor your child’s needs.
What is the ISR position on floats and life jackets?
Flotation devices (floaties) give children a false sense of security and hold them in postures that are not compatible with swimming skills.
If a child learns that he/she can jump in the water with their floaties on, pop up to the surface in a vertical position to breath, he/she is getting the WRONG idea about their environment. What stops them from thinking they will always pop up to the surface, even without their floaties on?
Coast Guard approved life jackets must and should be worn by any child (even ISR children) anytime you are in or around open water.
Meet Your Instructor
I am a certified Infant Swimming Resource (ISR) instructor and a Registered Nurse. I would like to share some things about myself and why I am dedicated to advancing water safety for our most vulnerable group - our kids.
I love the water and have always been around it. I knew about ISR from a young age because my younger brother took ISR lessons over 38 years ago in our pool in Florida. We had to know how to swim or float to survive. From about age 16 through college, I spent my summers lifeguarding, with most of that time at a kids' summer camp.
I earned my bachelor's degree in psychology but was drawn to nursing, so I went on to earn my nursing degree. I worked as a nurse for 18 years in a hospital setting and a women's surgery center. I am certified in CPR and NRP. I organized and led staff emergency drills for neonatal and maternal resuscitation. I received numerous commendations for patient safety. I gained invaluable experience during my time working as a nurse and was even voted "best in an emergency" by my fellow nurses.
After taking a hiatus to be a mom, I decided it was time for a career change. I wanted a job where I could use my skills and still help and protect. Being a parent changes your perspective on so many things, and the desire to protect your child as best you can takes priority. There are too many heartbreaking stories about infants and toddlers drowning. The statistics are deeply disturbing. Drowning is the leading cause of death in children aged one to four years old, and the second leading cause of death for children aged five to 14. I wanted to do all I could to ensure my son's safety, so I enrolled him in ISR and quickly decided THIS is what I should be doing. With my background - lifeguarding, nursing, psychology, and parenthood - I knew ISR would be a great fit, and it is.
Please, do all you can to protect your child. Enroll in ISR and let me help fulfill ISR's core principle: "not one more child drowns."