Why We Chose ISR for Our 6 Month Old


*Before I began this post I want to let you know that we NEVER intend for this training to substitute for parent or guardian supervision with water. If you choose to do Infant Self Rescue know that it is never a substitute for supervision. Even if your child has had swimming lessons, no child is drown-proof and there is absolutely no substitute for adult supervision.

Before Evelyn was born we wanted her to be able to be comfortable around water. I grew up around the water since I was a baby with trips to Orange Beach, AL with my family - always near an ocean, boats, or a pool. As a parent you want to give your child every tool that is possible. You are eager for them to learn and adapt to new situations and as a parent you help teach them how to do tummy time, discover foods, crawl, learn sign language, and how to babble. But when it comes to their safety with water - how do you prepare for the worst case scenario?

Even while pregnant I knew I wanted to start researching how to educate my baby on safely floating if she ever found herself alone in standing water. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for infants and young children between the ages of 1-4.

What Your Child Will Learn In ISR Lessons:

ISR’s unique results are achieved through fully customized, safe and effective, one-on-one lessons with only your child and the Instructor in the water-they are 10 minute sessions every weekday for 5 weeks. What your child will learn, and the way he or she will learn it, is what makes ISR so different from traditional swimming lessons. Always putting safety first, ISR emphasizes competence, which leads to confidence, and provides the foundation for a lifetime of enjoyment in and around the water.

What your child will learn depends on his or her age and developmental readiness, but in all cases, at minimum, your child will learn to roll onto his or her back to float, rest, and breathe, and to maintain this position until help arrives.

Children 6-12 Months Old

I am basing this blog post on the 6-12 month range because as a parent that is the swim lesson I put my change through. Generally speaking, children ages 6 months to 1 year learn the ISR Self-Rescue® skill of rolling onto their backs to float, rest and breathe. They learn to maintain this position until help arrives.

Prerequisites for Your Baby to Swim:

  • Must be 6 Months Old (Evelyn had turned 6 months old 2 days before swim lessons)

  • Must be Able to Sit Up Unassisted (This helps child rotate to back and float)

What I Wish I Would Have Known:

  1. Swim lessons AREN'T fun: Evelyn loves the water, always has been a water baby. Loves bath time, loves the ocean, and loves the pool. She didn’t necessarily like swim lessons.

  2. Your baby crying doesn’t mean they aren’t learning

  3. As a parent your heart will ache: I am 100% attachment parenting. I babywear, I breastfeed, we co-slept, we did not sleep train.  ISR Swim Lessons are excruciating for me. The first week was the hardest. Hearing your baby cry is the absolute worst and especially as an attachment parent I soothe my child when she asks for comfort. The instructor, Donna, was very good at creating ways to calm Evelyn: singing to her, giving her breaks to hug her, and talking to her throughout the lesson.

  4. Your Child will actively “communicate their concerns” over this “new environment”. Something I did not comprehend in the beginning was the uncomfortableness of learning to float. Evelyn would cry at first when layed back in the water by the instructor the instructor. After all, water in the ears and head back in water is not normal for a baby. The instructor would teach her by lightly guiding and supporting her weight under her back, feet, and head.

How We Thrived (or Survived)

  • We talked about Swim Lessons and how we were safe with Mrs. Donna (instructor) outside of class

  • We sang a song about swim lessons during the day and we’d sing it when we felt uncomfortable during lessons - the song went like this (written by songwriter whose son attends class before us):

Legs down, head back arms to the side ,

Relaxed floating makes fear say good-bye

Legs down! Head back!

Arms to the Side!

Relax! And Float!

And Fear will Say Bye-Bye!

  • We put on our doTERRA blend oils on our feet and over heart: Console Touch (prediluted) and Peace Touch (prediluted),

  • The second week I spent a day getting in the water with Evelyn to help calm her down during the session. It helped her release mamma was right there and trusting the instructor.

How I Feel Now That She Can Float: 

Evelyn was never in any danger during swim lessons. The instructor was very attentive to her level of activity during swim lessons and let her take many breaks. When something upset Evelyn we would work on different ways to help her adjust so that she could calm herself and then learn the technique. Our little fishy can now float and I have to say I am so thankful for Donna and ISR. To witness my baby put together all these intricate steps to learn how to float by herself is amazing. Babies are so smart! We’ve been through are series of tests - including regular clothes and diaper test and she’s accomplished them all! After her swim lessons when she is laying on her towel to rest, she immediately has a huge grin, sits up and gives Mrs. Donna a wave.

Who We Used: 

Donna Carver- Swimsters (615-707-7946)

We enjoyed our teacher Donna Carver so much. Her attention to detail and her technique to catering to each individual child's specific needs is something she is truly a natural at! Let's face it; putting your infant in a pool at 6 months old with no rotation device, who isn't walking yet, nonetheless never swam a day in her life, is very nerve wracking. It took one lesson with Donna for our guards to come completely down and we trust her with our child's safety and best interest. In just the 10 minutes we spent with her a day, we watched Evelyn progress and learn a different skill every lesson. It was so amazing and rewarding to watch our daughter’s progress in a short 5 weeks. My family will Forever be grateful that we chose to start.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment or use my contact form!


- Essentially Bee

Brittany Davidson