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Positive Parenting: Early swim lessons save lives

(WYTV) – Parents, here’s a lesson you can teach your children: teach them how to swim, how to float, how not to panic in deep water.

Crying children can be heard from the Mahoning Valley infant swimming resource ISR lessons. Which are survival based swimming instructions. I’m told this crying is completely normal.

“Crying is communication for kids. So while they’re in the pool their parents are outside of the pool. They’re with a stranger. They’re gonna cry,” said Kate Berdis, certified ISR instructor.

Kate Berdis, the founder of the ISR program here in the Valley tells me that crying lets the instructor know the child is okay. Some of the kids are as young as 6 months old for these unique swim lessons.

“We teach kids to be confident in the water if they would get into an aquatic emergency. We teach them skills on how to float and how to be problem solvers in the water,” said Kate Burnett, certified ISR instructor.

Burnett tells me that ISR has been around for over 50 years. However, Berdis and Burnett brought it to the Valley in 2021. They say its crucial for children.

It is an extra layer of protection for parents. Eyes on for parents and watching their children is number one. But it is an additional means of safety for parents.

Parents like Courtney Patrick, who has 3 little ones. They live on 2 acres with a pond.

“Not having a fenced in backyard, my biggest fear was them escaping and me just not seeing it for a few seconds is all it takes. And I knew I wanted them to be advanced in swimming skills,” said Patrick.

Each child goes through a 6 week program for only 10 minutes a day five days a week. Some may think the lesson looks uncomfortable for the child. However, I’m told the alternative is worse.

“Many parents think this is a traumatizing experience. It is not a traumatizing experience. A traumatizing experience is your child being intubated at the hospital because they drowned in a pool,” said Berdis.

“It was rough the first couple of weeks listening to them be upset. But they were just uncomfortable. They were in an uncomfortable unfamiliar situation. And that’s what I had to keep in mind. That I was doing the best that I could for my kids to be able to save their lives,” said Patrick.

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