Survival Swimming Lessons for Babies

Possibly the most important class you could ever sign up for Read more

Survival Baby Swim Lessons Philadelphia

If you’re anything like me, then you have now fully moved mentally past winter. (And I really don’t care what the forecasts are saying about next week. What snow? I can’t hear you Mr. Weatherman! LA-LA-LA-LA-LA.) In my mind, I’m already picking out sundresses and tiny little swim trunks for Luke.

Speaking of tiny swim trunks: Now that warm weather is upon us (WHAT. IT IS. STOP SAYING SNOW.), you might be interested in checking out the amazing survival swim instruction offered by the Infant Swimming Resource of Philadelphia. The classes aren’t your usual intro-to-water type of swim classes (not that there’s anything wrong with those classes — we love those classes!): The survival swim classes teach tiny ones skills that can literally save their lives.

You might have heard of the (trademarked) ISR self-rescue technique before — ISR was founded in 1966, instructors all over the country teach the method. (There are five in the Philadelphia area — all of whom started as parents who were so impressed with the results that they became teachers themselves.) Basically, babies from 6 months to 1 year learn how to flip themselves from face-down to face-up in the pool (they even practice doing that in their diapers and shoes, to simulate real-life situations); older ones (from 1 to about 6 years) learn a technique called float-to-swim, wherein the child learns to alternately float on his back to get air and then flip to swim toward safety, and then float, then swim, and so on. (You can see a video of all this stuff here.) It’s sort of mind-blowing, what these tiny brains can learn, and definitely mind-blowing to watch such little ones handle themselves so well in the water.

As you might guess, the program is no joke — lessons, which are taught one-on-one, are only 10 minutes in length, but go five days a week for six weeks. (Tricky with most schedules, I know, but so worth it if you can swing it, no?) Registration fees are $105; each week of classes is $110. Enrollment is ongoing, says 9-year instructor Barb Gorman, and there are spring sessions offered in Fort Washington, Ambler, Wayne, Blue Bell and Limerick. (The class/location line-up was just updated for the year, so if you go online and don’t see all the locations just yet, give it a day or so, or look below for individual contact names and emails.) You can also check out the site for more information and more background!

Fort Washington and Ambler 
Blue Bell 
Christine Stinson
Mary Guarino and Emily Morrison


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  • Pippa Goetz

    Our two boys graduated from ISR last spring (they were 3 and 1 yrs old then) just in time to open our in-ground pool. We ABSOLUTELY cannot tout this program enough!!! We have done maintenance all winter and are ramping up for our youngest (now 2 yrs) to do his full swim-float-swim training. The program is amazing to say the least. The first week or two is difficult as you will wonder if your child will ever “get it” but then you get to the day that things “click” and BAM…you see the benefits immediately. If you have a pool,spend time at a pool, or have any access even to a pool or NOT this is well worth the time investment- it saves lives and that is by far the most important part. Trust me when I say that ISR revolutionized our approach to water. All it takes is 4 seconds for a child to drown, this helps provide children with the innate skills to survive. Nothing is guaranteed but I am pretty sure that if you have the means to equip your child with survival skills around water any parent would jump at the chance. (Sincerely a happy ISR family- no kick backs here people, just sheer amazement).

    Also- we do our ISR training at the Hockessin Athletic Club in Hockessin Delaware. Kind of a stretch for Phila parents but it was well worth the trip- we live in West Chester so it was an easy commute for us.

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