DALLAS — Nicole Ton loves having a pool at her Lewisville home. But having a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old means she was always on edge.
“I was always nervous when the little kids got around the pool,” Ton said. “I was always watching to make sure that nobody fell in and always ready to jump in in case they did.”
With drowning a leading cause of death for young children, she looked for a solution.
“That was one of my top things, to teach them how to survive if they did fall in the water,” she said.
Ton enrolled her kids in ISR, or Infant Swimming Resource.
“It's a program that teaches kids between ages of 6 months and 6 years the ability to self-rescue,” explained Samantha Pacheco, who runs ISR DFW.
Pacheco said this isn’t your typical swim class. The focus in ISR is to give kids the skills they need to get themselves to safety if they end up in the water alone. That means rolling on their backs to float, or a swim-float-swim sequence, to get to the edge of the pool on their own.
“It actually teaches them the survival,” she said.
Pacheco said the technique is growing in popularity; through social media, parents share videos of their kids and their new skills and word spreads. But Pacheco acknowledges not all parents will like this method. And she said there are some misconceptions that kids are tossed in the pool or that they swallow a lot of water.
What does happen, she said, is they eventually gently submerge the kids in water so they can practice their self-rescue skills. Sometimes the children are tested in full clothing, to mimic real scenarios, but always with the instructor right there with them.
“Every instructor has a different approach to how they do that, but I can tell you, I've never tossed a kid in the water and expected them to perform their skillset,” Pacheco said.
Pacheco takes this personally: her own son Ethan drowned 10 years ago.
ISR’s mission? To make sure not one more child drowns.
For more information about the program, click here.