Teaching SWFL kids ‘self-rescue swimming’ before summer break

Reporter: Tiffany Rizzo Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:

As summer break approaches, Southwest Florida parents should remember water safety for their children, which could even include teaching them “self-rescue swimming” in a certified program.

Self-rescue swim lessons teach children how to roll onto their backs to get air while in the water, and they can start learning as young as six months old.

“Our little students who are not able to walk yet learn how to roll back to float so that they can float for however long they need to until they’re able to get picked up,” said Kathy Cole, senior master instructor at ISR (Infant Swimming Resource) Fort Myers. “And our older students are able to swim, they’re walking age up to age six, we teach them how to swim, float, swim.”

Cole recommends doing lessons before your child is mobile and coming back for refreshers as their bodies grow and change. Once the kids are fully skilled, instructors will simulate a fall-in by placing the child in the pool.

“The day before their last day, we do full clothes; we do progress them through clothing, and teach them how to self-rescue in their clothes,” Cole said. “We let them have that experience of having the diaper or the shoes, the long sleeves, pants, jackets, everything on so that they would know what to do if they ever fell in the water alone.”

“I went through so many swimming lessons and my child was still not swimming,” said Christina Santacruz. “And yet here I’m seeing these little babies just swimming and floating in the pool. And so I realized, I’m like, ‘That’s what I want my child to be able to do.’ So then I got Reeves into ISR when he was 2.”

Santacruz, a mother with three kids, continues to bring her children for refreshers because the lessons have proven to be a lifesaver. One of her sons fell into the pool only two weeks into lessons when he was just a 1-year-old.

“He had fell into my mom’s pool and he immediately popped right into a float,” Santacruz said. “So it just gave me so much more confidence… that he had the survival skills.”

ISR swim lessons form a six-week program, typically 10 minutes a day for five days a week. Find a location at the ISR Fort Myers website.

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