swimming-tips-safety-kids With so many backyard pools at homes in Palm Beach and Martin County, Florida, it is not surprising that the Sunshine State ranks among the nation’s highest in drowning deaths each year. In fact, Florida loses more children under the age of five from accidental drowning than any other cause. Alarmingly, Florida Health Services report that enough children to fill three to four preschool classrooms drown each year. For this reason, many Florida homeowners use pool fences and alarms, and many Florida parents enroll their children in swim classes before they can walk. “Before my son could say the word ‘pool,’ he was floating and swimming to the side of the pool,” says NV Realty Group agent Sharon Gisreil. “My friends told me about Infant Swimming Resource, and after watching their children swim like fish before the age of two, I knew I would choose this method for my son.” Sharon and her husband, John, frequent their Abacoa Jupiter community pool. Plus, Sharon’s sister, who often babysits for the family, has a backyard pool at her North Palm Beach home. “Because our family members and friends have pools and because we enjoy boating and going to the beach, we knew we wanted to start swim lessons as early as possible,” adds John. Infant Swimming Resource (ISR) is a program specifically designed to teach babies aquatic survival skills. Newborns as young as six months can enroll, and the program typically lasts five weeks. On the final day, the instructor will conduct a “test” in which the child is fully clothed and required to float for several minutes. Though the program has its critics, ISR instructor Kelli Roop who also lives in Abacoa Jupiter, reiterates the benefits of the method: "We all like to believe that we're the perfect parent, and this would never happen to us.  The fact is, we are human.  We cannot constantly keep our eyes on our children.  Accidents happen.  Safety barriers fail.  This is their last line of defense should they reach the water alone.  Drowning is the leading cause of death of children between the ages of 1-4, and it doesn't have to be.  This is a preventable epidemic.  Children can learn Self-Rescue™ lessons in six weeks with ISR. Infants as young as 6 months learn to hold their breath upon submersion and roll back to float face up and wait for help to arrive.  Children over 1 and walking, learn a swim-float-swim sequence.  Both ages are taught the survival float, but the older children learn a short swim attached to each end, being able to repeat this sequence until they reach safety.  It is a necessity, just like car seats, that all children should have." The founder of the program, Dr. Harvey Barnett, created the method in 1966 with the bold mission that “not one more child drowns.”   Since its incorporation, the program has taught self-rescue techniques to more than 800,000 children and has saved more than 800 lives. swimming-lessions In addition to teaching swim classes, several area ISR instructors are affiliated with and support the Live Like Jake Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to bringing awareness to drowning prevention; providing swim scholarships for families with financial need; and offering emotional support to families who have suffered the loss of a child. Jake Morrison, the namesake of the foundation, lost his life as a toddler due to an accidental drowning. As a result, the parents created the foundation in hopes that no other family has to endure such a painful experience. Apart from ISR, other local swim classes are offered through the Village of North Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens Recreational Department, and Jupiter Recreational Department. Many area swim instructors offer private lessons as well. By law, Florida pool homes are required to have a barrier. Buyers of pool homes are strongly urged to also use pool fences, pool alarms, and/or door alarms as an added precaution. However, even the best intentions do not replace the need for survival swim lessons.

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