Why Survival Swim Lessons Were the Best Choice for My Kids

I guess you could say our swimming lesson journey technically began at a friend’s wedding reception. At that time my daughter was just over a year old. One of the other guests began telling us how her child was enrolled in survival swimming lessons. I wanted to learn more.

This woman’s young daughter went from being a non-swimmer to being able to swim underwater, float and get herself out of the pool. I went home to research this type of lessons. We had a pool at our home and also a pond in the backyard. Sadly, Florida was, and still is, a leader in child drownings under age 4. I wanted to give my daughter a strong swimming foundation and decided survival swimming lessons were the best choice for her.

Infant Swimming Resource (ISR)

We decided to enroll my daughter in a specific type of survival swimming called ISR, or Infant Swimming Resource. In this particular program, the child learns a “swim-float-swim” technique. If a child accidentally gets into water, they swim and float on their back to rest/breathe, alternating those two until they safely reach the wall or stairs. It sounded like a lot to learn but I felt confident my daughter could do it.

The beginning

We found an instructor who taught the lessons at her home not far from mine. The lessons were short and one-on-one. They took place five days a week for ten minutes. I was warned that my daughter may get upset in the beginning. What I wasn’t ready for was my reaction. I was unable to hold back my own tears when I saw my daughter’s. I hated seeing her cry. My first thought was what if she is mad that I’m not trying to rescue her? I had to remind myself that it was WAY better than the alternative of drowning. I was relieved when she eventually stopped crying during lessons. 

The results

My daughter made it thru her session in about five weeks. She was both swimming and floating. We also went back to the same instructor the next spring for a short refresher course. It was SO cool to see her swimming skills. Most importantly, I knew we were providing her with an extra layer of protection around water. My younger son also went thru these same type of lessons when he was old enough. Survival swimming lessons were one of the best gifts I’ve been able to give my children. 

To learn more about keeping your child safe around water, you can visit this website.

Did you put your young child in swimming lessons? If so, which type did you choose and did you feel they were effective? Let me know in the comments.


Emily grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She graduated from The University of Arizona with a degree in Business Administration, where her love affair with all-things desert began. She originally moved to Tampa in 2009 to be closer to her then-boyfriend, now-husband, Kyle. Together, they have two amazing (and amazingly strong-willed!) kids. Since starting a family, Emily has also lived in South Carolina and Metro Detroit, before returning to the Tampa area in 2017. Emily is a REALTOR® and in her spare time, she enjoys fitness, essential oils, reading, country music, and anything crafty.


  1. I am so happy and proud to know you did this for your kids. Jamey’s daycare (from 6 months of age until he got to old for it) had an indoor pool and an onsite lifeguard/swim instructor. The moment I could afford to do so, I too paid for those one on one lessons. I asked the instructor to please “drownproof” my kiddo. Not a necessarily a realistic goal, LOL, but the same survival instruction was done and my kiddo is not only now a strong, confident swimmer, but someone who can be trusted to teach his friends water safety. I didn’t have any idea that would come into play until we moved to a town with a river running through it. The only voice teens will hear is other teens. And he does that for his friends.

    • I love hearing this! It’s such a valuable skill to have. We were willing to make sacrifices in other areas to get them these lessons. Well worth the time and money spent 🙂

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