Infant swim program helps prevent drowning

Published 8:16 pm Thursday, January 22, 2009

Drowning ranks first in deaths of U.S. children younger than age four, claiming 4,000 lives annually, and leaving 12,000 more with brain damage.

Children drown when backs are turned – even for seconds – in swimming pools, lakes, hot tubs, bathtubs or flooded areas.

Not all swim programs teach survival, but there is one that has been taught to more than 175,000 babies over 40 years with a 100 percent success rate. It’s called Infant Swimming Resource (ISR).

Certified ISR Instructor Tim Scherer is located at One Nineteen Health & Wellness in Greystone. I met with him and a young client to see the program for myself. One-year-old Dobbs Duell had been instructed before, and now was getting a refresher lesson.

“Drowning prevention is an obvious benefit, but what others can be had from infant swim lessons?” I asked Scherer.

“Confidence is built when anxiety is overcome, and this carries through to other life challenges,” Scherer said.

Brooks Duell observed as her son entered the water.

“Skills taught here cannot be tried in a bathtub nor should they be attempted by untrained persons,” Scherer said. “I perform constant quality checks to monitor safety.”

Scherer offers the only certified ISR program in our area, which not only involves safety protocols, but also medical monitoring which goes way beyond what an untrained parent might be capable of doing.

ISR prides itself on maintaining surveillance. The child’s diet, sleep and output are monitored to make the instructor aware of the body’s reaction to learning water survival skills. The program is a continuous course of skill development and refinement through the first six years of a child’s life. Infants younger than 12 months learn posturing and how to roll back to sustain a floating position, one which can save their life. After age one, children learn to incorporate rollback and float with propulsion. Refresher courses annually or every six months maintain aquatic survival skills as the baby develops and grows.

Teaching a child to swim does not end parental responsibility to protect a child from drowning. Never turn a responsible-adult back on small children around water. Pools should have protective fences and self-locking gates, and no diving boards.

Scherer shows great commitment to the safety and success of his tiny clients. With warmer weather approaching soon, you may want to get your child trained in water survival. Give Scherer a call at 533.1488 or e-mail at