Infants Taught to Rescue Themselves from Drowning

By Megan Trent

June 14, 2011 Updated Jun 14, 2011 at 6:57 PM EDT

DECATUR, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Nichole Dickey knows that safety around water is a priority. That's why she taking her two youngest children to Emily Nelson for Infant Swimming Resource's self-rescue course.

"We have four children," says Dicke. "Our oldest two are proficient swimmers, but we recently got a pond. With a two year old and a three year old at home, I knew that eventually their curiosity and their ability to sneak out in a split second of not looking, a kid can do about anything they want to do."

She found out just how true that is when one of her children fell in the pool a few years ago.

"We were there to get him back out, but it didn't make a sound. He didn't make a sound. He didn't even make a splash. So, if we hadn't been watching, we would have lost him, and when Emily told me that she was coming in to do these lessons, there wasn't even a second of doubt that we had to do this."

Nelson explains the unique technique. "The children who are six months and sitting up and crawling, we teach to roll back to a float. If they fall into the water, they can roll themselves back and maintain a float until help comes. Once they are walking, we can teach a swim, float, swim sequence. We basically have them swimming, they roll back to a float, and they maintain that float until they're rested. They roll back over, they swim, and they can do that swim, float, swim as long as they need to until they reach safety."

The best safety tools, says Nelson, are education, a watchful eye, and using covers and fences around pools. Still, 70% of children who drown are in the care of one or both parents.

"Those things break down," says Nelson. "Infant Swimming Resource believes that if you skill them, then they know what to do when they get in the water. This is a third layer of protection to keep them safe."

Dicke agrees, saying, "To the extent that we make sure our children are safe in the car and other places like that, it just makes sense that we would also make sure that they know how to be safe in the water before we show them that they can have fun in the water too."

Nelson is the only instructor in Northeast Indiana, so to find out how to sign your kid up for self rescue swim classes, go to infantswim.com.

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