With warm weather rapidly approaching (yes, we hear the collective screams of joy) after a particularly brutal winter, it seems pretty certain that families are eager to hit their backyard or neighborhood pools, area lakes and, of course, the beach. But if your family includes a little one and possible non-swimmer, these afternoons by the water or beach vacations are far less relaxing for the parents and babysitters.
But there is something some parents — like country artist Dee Jay Silver — are choosing to do to keep their little ones safer: ISR (Infant Self Rescue) swimming courses. Programs are developed to teach children as young as six months how to save themselves should they fall into a body of water. They are taught how to rise to the surface, float, breathe and relax until help arrives.
Sounds pretty great, right? Well, it is, but it also looks pretty frightening when you see a small child actually go through the process.
Dee Jay and his wife, Jenna Perdue, put their son Wake — our favorite little ginger-haired toddler — into the class, and Jenna kept followers on her Instagram page updated on sweet Wakey’s progress as he went through his training.
As you can see, early on there is always an instructor nearby to help nudge the little nugget in the right direction.
And on one special day, Jenna’s father was even able to join his grandson and the coach in the pool for some special encouragement.
On Feb. 19, though, class came to an end for the little goldfish when he graduated from the program and, to be completely honest, we were a nervous wreck watching Jenna’s video of his final test. Much like the test that lifeguards have to take when becoming certified, Wake enters the pool fully clothed and pretty fearlessly. First he floats on his back, very calmly, for several seconds. Then his instructor takes him to the side of the pool and rolls him onto his belly, simulating what it might feel like if he rolled in the water accidentally. And like a boss, Wake went into auto-pilot, turning himself over to his back to float.
It’s the next move that made us realize we had been holding our breath for the duration of the video.
The instructor flips the toddler end-over-end, as if he had fallen out of a boat and, like a boss, Wake kicks and turns until he is safely floating again.
But he isn’t finished yet. After Wake demonstrates his ability to roll into a floating position, the instructor takes his hoodie off and, as he calmly floats, she places the jacket over his face. Wake wastes no time in using both hands to move it back off and, whew, we can breathe again!
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We have an #ISR graduate!!! 👨🏼🎓 I could not be more thankful for @kennettepyles for teaching Wake over these past few weeks how to save his own life in the event he fell in a body of water. Just knowing our son has this is his tool box brings tears to my eyes! I can not encourage parents enough about the importance of this course. Infant Swimming Rescue lessons are becoming more widely available, so look for a teacher near you! THANK YOU, Kennette! Bring on SUMMER! 🎉🏊🏻♂️🙌🏼
To say that Jenna and Dee Jay support this program that may one day keep their beautiful little one safe is an understatement. She writes, “We have an #ISR graduate!!! 👨🏼🎓 I could not be more thankful for @kennettepyles for teaching Wake over these past few weeks how to save his own life in the event he fell in a body of water. Just knowing our son has this is his tool box brings tears to my eyes! I cannot encourage parents enough about the importance of this course. Infant Swimming Rescue lessons are becoming more widely available, so look for a teacher near you!”
In the comments section, one reader did ask Jenna, “OK, let’s be honest here @_jennamichelle_. How bad was your anxiety when he first started classes?” Jenna replied, admitting, “I have to be honest and say in the five weeks only ONCE did I have anxiety for a SECOND when he was under a little longer than I was comfortable with (like, literally, a second. Trust that these coaches know what they’re doing and do it for a reason. 🤗) But I have to say I was a rock star about it because … he was never in pain and it was for his benefit!!! Stay strong! I promise you’ll both survive!”
And that’s what it’s all about—survival!
For more on these programs or to find Infant Self Rescue or Infant Swim Rescue classes in your area, call your local public pool or check the Infant Swim website!