Monday, June 17, 2013

No Such Thing as Drown Proof!

Last week I saw a post on a local mother's club forum asking about Infant Swimming resource (ISR). We often get asked by parents whether LPB offers this "drown proofing" technique at our schools. Our answer is, there is no such thing as being drown proofed.  Here is my response on the mother's club forum:

Q: I watched a YouTube video of a baby floating on his back after falling in a pool. I want to teach my 10 month old Infant Swimming Resource drown proofing, but I can't find anyplace locally that offers this program. Does anyone know of a pool where this is taught? I just want to make sure my baby never drowns!

Anya's Response:

hi there,
i just wanted to chime in here and let you know that infant swimming resource is very risky and imo, causes trauma to babies and toddlers.
first of all, there is no such thing as being "drown proofed", or "water safe". these terms are completely unfounded and any swim school or program that claims they can "drown proof" your child is a MAJOR red flag. nobody is ever drown proofed...not even michael phelps!
regular swim lessons are the best way to develop a healthy relationship with water. yes, there should be a slight "respect" or fear factor involved in swim lessons of all kind. after all, we are dealing with a suffocating liquid. infants and toddlers can grab onto the side of a pool and hold their breath. this should be taught in a nurturing and encouraging environment, which is not the approach ISR takes. ISR basically bullies a child into back floating with the hope that the child will be able to do this 100% of the time. ISR programs recommend that you put your child down for a nap on his/her side because vomiting after a "lesson" is not uncommon. this is not ok!!!!

lastly, ISR instils a false sense of security in parents. please do not ever think (even for a second) that your child is going to be safe after taking ISR. here's a likely scenario: your child falls into a pool or fountain and hits his head badly on the way in. he could pass out, he could cry from the pain (letting all of his air out) and not be able to adjust himself to a float position. ISR is so misleading, it's almost a crime.

i am PASSIONATE about child development and swimming, and i wish i could tell every new parent this information. swim lessons are extremely important as a layer of protection against drowning, but there are no guarantees. drowning is the #1 cause of accidental death for children under the age of 5. the only way to prevent drowning is by using layers of protection (
safer response: parental supervision, making sure caregivers know how to swim and can perform cpr
safer water: barriers for all pools, hot tubs, fountains, etc...don't forget to empty dog bowls, buckets, etc!
safer kids: regular, year round swim lessons can give your child a healthy respect for the water while teaching them how to hold their breath which can buy you precious seconds!
learning to swim is a lot like learning a language...if you don't use it, you lose it. it's important to make swimming a part of your child's regular routine so that their muscle memory and skill retention remains constant. those winter and spring break trips to palm springs or hawaii won't go over so well if your child hasn't been in the water for months!
please let me know if you have any other questions/concerns. as a professional swim teacher with decades of swimming experience at all levels, i encourage parents to avoid this method of "drown proofing".
happy (and safe) splashing,

anya hall
curriculum director, LPB


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  2. Both my boys completed ISR training and I feel its a wonderful survival skill to have!