TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — It’s the time of year where families like to enjoy being in sun and the water.
Sadly, that means it’s also the time of year Florida sees an uptick in tragic accidents like child drownings, which is why experts say it’s vital children learn how to swim, or at least know how to survive if they fall into the water.
Tampa’s Infant Swim Resource is one option many people turn to when it comes to putting their kids in lessons.
At first glance, it may look a bit intense to see a nine month old floating face up in a pool, but McKenzie Karstens is already learning life saving skills in and around water. Her mom, Jennifer, signed McKenzie up with Angel Zysk for Infant Swim Resource, which teaches babies as young as six months the technique known as “roll back and float.”
Zysk is well-known in Tampa. She’s taught over a 1,000 kids how to survive using ISR, which is different than weekly swim lessons, or even learning how to swim with floaties.
“If you have a child that’s been swimming in floaties or armies that held them in this vertical position, then that’s why so many children who forget they don’t have the armies on slip into the water, not equating this with their air. They sink straight to the bottom,” Zysk said.
Scary moments like that do happen. It happened once to Jessica Kuch’s son.
“He pushed my son in and my husband and I were like ‘Oh my gosh’, and we just kind of watched it all unfold,” Kuch said. “He sputtered a little and didn’t know what to do, and then he flipped to his back and we were just like, ‘Oh my gosh it all just worked out’.”
Parents and caregivers need to dedicate time to ISR, though. It’s Monday through Friday for 10 minute lessons for about four weeks to learn the life-saving skill.
“Over a year, they learn to put the full sequence together, which is swim three or four seconds, roll on their back for three or four seconds, and then continue swimming the rest of the way,” Zysk said.
Both Kuch and Karstens said the time spent is worth it, because the babies come out of the class with a respect for the water.
“I had heard so many good things about it from my friends in the area, and I could not miss out on an opportunity to keep my kids safe in the water,” Karstens said.
For more on ISR’s scheduling and pricing, or to find an instructor near you, click here.