(L-R) Infant Swimming Resource (ISR) instructors Alanna Cutri (Valrico/Brandon), Dianne Cutri (Valrico/Brandon), Dr. Harvey Barnett (founder of ISR), Kari Bahour (FishHawk/Riverview) and Pam Norris recently met together at the South Tampa YMCA to discuss the importance of water safety.

There is no such thing as being too prepared when it comes to children and water safety.

Thankfully there is a program that is solely dedicated to teaching water safety skills to young children and their parents. Infant Swimming Resource was founded more than 45 years ago by Dr. Harvey Barnett to ensure that ‘Not One More Child Drowns.’ To date the ISR program has delivered more than seven million safe and effective swim lessons to young children ages six months-six years-old.

Dr. Barnett, who earned a Ph.D. from the University of Florida in Psychological Foundations, conducted years of research and studying in school to perfect this method of infant swim trainings. “While in school Dr. Barnett not only studied the psychology of children and the best ways to teach them these lessons, he also sat in on medical classes in order to learn the best elements to care for the child’s health while taking lessons,” said Pam Norris, an ISR instructor new to the Tampa area. “For example, he makes sure to look at the water temperature and makes sure that parents keep track of what the children are eating and take note of any change in their daily habits.”

ISR’s philosophy is that children as young as six months of age can learn to save themselves in a drowning situation by using ISR’s Self-Rescue method. Unlike other swimming programs, ISR combines safe swimming lessons with survival skills that teach children to survive in the water.

“When the children are between the ages of six months to one year-old, they are first taught to hold their breath under water, turn onto their backs and float,” said Kari Bahour, an ISR Master Instructor, who gives lessons in the FishHawk/Riverview areas. “When the children are between the ages of one-six years-old, they are then taught the swim-float-swim sequence. They learn to hold their breath, swim with their head down, roll onto their back to breath and rest and then continue swimming until they can either be rescued by an adult or reach the side of the pool.”

ISR instructors almost constantly receive feedback from the parents of children that they have helped in the past. “Recently I had a former parents write on my Facebook wall and tell me that her three year-old son, who completed both ISR programs, fell face-first into a pool when trying to fill up a water gun,” said Bahour. “She said he immediately turned onto his back, floated, kicked himself to the side of the pool and pulled himself out. She said that the money for the ISR lessons was worth every penny.”

Dr. Barnett currently lives in Orlando and recently spent six weeks in Tampa  giving ISR instruction to the children of local first responders. He continues to give seminars and teach lessons, seeing as many as five to six children within an hour time span. “There is nothing like the rush of when a child ‘gets it’ and floats on his or her own for the first time,” he said. “Forty-five years later and I still get goosebumps when it happens.”

Visit www.infantswim.com or for lesson info in the FishHawk/Riverview area, contact Bahour at  643-7946.

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