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ISR-A Real, Personal Account

July 4, 2011

 My Infant Swim Resource (ISR) Experience

Stephanie Baker

The following is an article I read just before sitting down to write this testimonial piece about ISR (Infant Swim Resource) classes with Christen Buchert, “The Swim Lady”:

Three-year-old Boy Dies in Salvo Pool Accident

Rob Morris | June 27, 2011| The OuterBanksVoice

A 3-year-old boy apparently drowned in a pool at a rental house in Salvo Monday morning, the Dare County Sheriff’s Office reported.

The child was discovered missing from a downstairs gameroom by his mother, who then found him at the bottom of the pool at about 10:09 a.m.

Bystanders and the Dare County Emergency Medical Service used CPR to try to revive the child for 30 to 40 minutes, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

We don’t own a pool, nor do we have direct neighbors with a pool. We don’t live on a canal. We don’t own a boat. The ocean is ½ mile away from our house. I didn’t “need” to enroll my child in ISR last year, nor did I “need” to sign him up for refresher classes this year. (Oh, and I forgot to mention, most recently: weekly maintenance lessons!) We are not “rich” and I don’t consider myself to be a hypochondriac.

Two years ago, a family in my neighborhood several streets away lost their little girl, not yet two years old, in their pool. To this day, I don’t know this family well at all. However, I remember, very clearly, the rescue sirens that day as they screamed down the street by my house. When I heard the news of what had happened, I had trouble sleeping for what seemed like weeks; devastated by the loss of a child I didn’t even know.

When I first heard about Infant Swim Resource lessons, I was skeptical, despite the fact that my older son had taken lessons from Christen, and I knew how “good” she is. I thought there was no way my then 1 ½ year old (Graham) would learn how to swim and float and swim; no way any baby could or would learn to simply float on his/her back to survive.

I thought the lessons were overpriced, and for only 10 minutes a day? Not to mention the dietary restrictions and having to keep a log of sleep/eat/pee & poop for 6 weeks! It all seemed like too much.

Then Jessica and John Lenhart held the First Candle2010 fundraiser and I bid on the lessons (which were a silent auction item) after a glass of wine or two. To make a long story short, I was the highest bidder for ISR Lessons at the end of the night. As I returned home, I was excited about the fact that I may able to save my son’s life with these 6 week long lessons.

The next day, I was less excited and more anxious: 6 weeks, 10 minutes a day. (It is 4 weeks for kids under age 1.) What if I wanted to go out of town? What if he was sick? What if I had friends in town that I wanted to spend a day with? What if I accidentally fed him one of the forbidden foods? What if he hated it? It was all too much. Yet, I had made the financial commitment and felt obliged to schedule the lessons ASAP.

Luckily, Christen assured me that if I wanted to go out of town, or if I had friends in town that it was not the end of the world. Though consistency is key, we didn’t have to go every single day if something really important took precedence. By not being consistent with attendance, it is more challenging for the child to meet the progress levels expected within the program guidelines. Still, if he was sick, I could reschedule. If he ate something he shouldn’t, we could re-schedule. Christen was, and is, really accommodating with scheduling lessons and will try her best to accommodate all of her students.

I think it took us about 8 weeks of summer, as far as the length of time from our first lesson to our last, because of travel and illness, etc. But it worked, despite the fact that my child cried at each lesson for the first 6 weeks or so! She is patient and kind, and has a special gift for working with even the most “difficult” children. Although my kid had to wear clothes more often that what is expected with the normal program requirement (it weighs them down, but in our case helped my son to stop kicking when he was resting on his back), he learned to save himself from drowning. The lessons aren’t cheap, but I will tell you they are worth every cent.

I am truly amazed to watch Graham in the water at age 2 1/2, as are the many other parents I know here in our community who have signed their child or children up for ISR classes. I hope, as I am sure every parent does, that my son will never have to use what he has been taught. It only takes a few seconds to lose a child to drowning. I am not a hypochondriac.

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