ISR Lessons

swim float swim

In a country where drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children ages 1-4 years old according to the Centers for Disease Control, parents cannot afford to choose a swimming lesson method that fails to teach their child survival swimming and self-rescue skills.

Children as young as 6 months can learn to save themselves from drowning should they find their way to the water alone. Drowning is not just a "swimming pool" is a global issue. Drowning can occur in a matter of seconds and is SILENT. It can happen in any body of water including a bathtub, a subdivision retention pond, a nearby stream or creek, a neighbor's pool, or even a bucket of water. Please keep in mind that the safety measures you have instilled in your home may not be the same in your neighbor's homes. Self-rescue skills can go with you and your family anywhere!

Our program integrates skills that are developmentally appropriate, teaching them to save their own lives while building the confidence that can lead to a lifetime of fun in and around the water.

ISR is the SAFEST provider of comprehensive swimming and water safety lessons that offers a proven method to self-rescue skills in a completely safe and controlled environment.

ISR lessons are designed for any child as early as 6 months of age, including children with special needs or disabilities, all the way up to adults. This is not a traditional swim class where they will be playing in the pool with other kids like a "Mommy and Me" or "Water Babies" class, nor will they be learning stroke work or other swimming techniques; this is a psychologically based swim program that teaches survival swimming and self-rescue skills. This is a course designed to teach your body how to respond and rescue yourself in a potential aquatic emergency situation by using ISR's self-rescuemethod. Parents do not get into the pool during lessons.

The lessons are an average of 7-8 minutes DAILY (Monday through Friday) for approximately 6 weeks for children ages 6 months to 6 years. Each parent is given a 10-minute time slot for the same time every day. Each child will swim with an instructor one-on-one, and receives approximately 20-30 lessons during the session. Students attend lessons every day, Monday through Friday throughout the course.

baby girl floatingBeginning at 6 months of age, children will learn a rollback to float technique where they will move from a face-down position to the surface of the water, flip over to their back, and float face-up while breathing and resting comfortably until they are rescued. This takes approximately 6 weeks

boy underwaterChildren who have been walking unassisted for a few months up to 6 years of age will learn a swim-float-swim technique where they are taught to hold their breath and swim underwater, rollback into a float so that they can catch their breath and relax their muscles, then flip back over to swim underwater again. They follow this pattern until they reach the side of the pool, stairs, ladder, etc. This takes approximately 6 weeks.

Lessons are short for a variety of reasons. ISR's extensive research has revealed that 7-8 minutes in the water per day is the most effective and safest way for a child to successfully master ISR's skills, and to retain what they have learned during each lesson. Lessons are also customized to your child in a one-on-one setting, so each child's learning curve and program will be different. However, all children come away with the same skills and the survival swimming techniques that will assist them in an aquatic emergency.

Children ages 7 and up, including adults, will learn the Illinois Swim Rescue Program which includes a swim-rest-swim technique where they will be taught to hold their breath and swim underwater, roll into a float so that they can catch their breath and relax their muscles while resting and breathing comfortably, and then roll over to swim underwater again. Swim strokes including breast-stroke, freestyle, and backstrokes will be incorporated into the program. Lessons are 30 minutes and are offered 2-3 days per week (Monday through Friday) for 4-8 weeks depending on the skill level of the student. Each student is given a 30-minute time slot for the same time on Tuesdays and Thursdays, or Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays.

The ISR Difference

How is ISR Different?

marketing photoBefore you take your baby to the local pool for swim lessons, make sure you have given equal consideration to the critical importance of swimming and water safety techniques. ISR is the safest swim instruction method worldwide, providing clinically researched instruction techniques to ensure that your child is learning self-rescue skills in a safe and controlled environment. No other swim lessons offer a proven system for safely teaching your child to enjoy the fun of swimming while at the same time teaching life-saving skills that are proven to save lives.

There are hundreds of competing swim programs, and parents can easily find a person or an organization willing to teach swimming to young children. Such programs can be found at any recreational facility, community pool, national safety organizations, and national swim school organizations, none of which have or utilize a proven system designed to teaching your child how to save his or her own life in an aquatic emergency. Most of these instructors are teens and young adults with less than 20 hours of in-water training and education.

ISR instructors are the most highly trained and qualified Instructors of any swimming program in the world, and must undergo strict re-certification testing annually. Each instructor spends months receiving academic training and testing in areas of child psychology, behavioral science, physiology, and anatomy to provide the most comprehensive and safest lessons possible for your child. In addition, each instructor spends 60 hours with a Master Instructor who supervises in-water training while working with actual students.

Why Choose ISR?

Going beyond traditional swimming instruction, ISR teaches children aquatic survival techniques designed to help them survive should they reach the water alone. The intellectual property behind ISR's method of training centers on the self-rescue methodology developed by Dr. Harvy Barnett, PhD. For more than 50 years ISR's proven, self-rescue program has and continues to provide:

Safety: ISR's number one priority for your child.

  • Prior to beginning lessons, your child's unique medical history is reviewed by a team of medical professionals to identify any potential health issues that may affect your child's lessons and safety.
  • Parent education: Your child is not the only one learning during lessons. ISR's program includes comprehensive parent education on aquatic safety and drowning prevention.

Results: Each ISR Instructor safely and gently guides your child through the process of mastering his/her survival skills. The protocols and ongoing education your Instructor receives ensures that your child, at the end of lessons, will be able to successfully demonstrate the age appropriate survival sequence, including a roll-back-to-float and/or a swim-float-swim.


ISR uses both verbal and non-verbal cues to teach children as young as 6 months. Even though your child might not communicate verbally yet, he or she can learn to self-rescue. Remember, your child may not talk, but he or she has learned motor skills such as to roll, crawl, walk and run. These are the only skills needed to find themselves in danger near the water.

Unlike other swimming programs, your child's ISR self-rescue lessons:

  • Are customized and taught one-on-one by a certified ISR instructor
  • Last for no more than 10 minutes, Monday through Friday, for approximately 6 weeks
  • Emphasize health, ongoing program evaluations and parent education
  • Provides your child with the competence and confidence to safely enjoy the water
  • Provides extensive parent education on safety in and around the water

ISR's safety record and proven instruction techniques are uniquely tailored to your child's needs based on comprehensive assessment and continual monitoring of your child's health and skill attainment by certified ISR instructors.

Prior to each lesson, your Instructor will review the unique physiology of your child, including bowel movements, frequency of urination, diet and meal-times, and the duration of every sleep episode in a 24-hour period on a BUDS sheet (Bowel, Urine, Diet and Sleep) which is kept by the parents.

Your ISR instructor will review the BUDS sheet and ask you further questions if necessary, and then individualize the lesson for your child. If your instructor feels any of these key measurements are not as they should be, your child's lesson may not take place that day for the health and safety of your child. The BUDS sheet ensures your child's comfort and well-being, and provides your child with the opportunity to learn in a healthy and safe environment.

ISR Safety Statistics
  • Backed by 50 years of research and development
  • 600+ Certified Instructors
  • 20 Countries
  • Taught over 300,000 Students
  • More than 8 million safe lessons
  • 800 documented cases of a child using ISR's self-rescue techniques to save their own life.