Drowning deaths are the leading killer for children under age four, but babies as young as six months are learning swimming survival skills. One local boy is living proof of it.
A youtube clip passed from parent to parent is inspiring a surge in sign ups. It's a dramatic demonstration of a baby wandering out of the house undetected and falling into the pool. Luckily, he's one of 8 hundred still alive today because he knew how to float on his back thanks to ISR, or Infant Swimming Resource. 4-thousand children drown nationwide every year because they don't know what to do.
Kailua Instructor Debra Pyrek says, "Teaching them swimming survival skills. Self rescue is what ISR teaches. It will save their lives."
Lauren Gammache signed up her 7 month old son Austin. He can't walk, but in the water, he can flip and float by himself, no problem.
"It's amazing to watch them progress from just getting in water, splashing and playing to floating by themselves" says Gammache. She's amazed to see him "flipping over and popping up. He pops up with a smile on his face."
It takes from four to six weeks to teach infants as young as six months this life-saving technique.
Pyrek explains the difference with ISR's methods. "They'll be able to hold that back float as long as they need until someone can get them out of the water."
Children over the age of one learn how to make it to the side of the pool. It's no replacement for supervision, but reassuring for parents.
Poonam Gupta is the parent of a toddler who just graduated from ISR. "It gives me a sense of security" says Gupta. "Just in case he gets into the water or a puddle, that he can swim by himself."
You never know when you may need it. A 14 month old boy we filmed learning to float in a Hawaii News Now story last year had a real accident just one week later.
"He got out of the home into the pool without anyone being aware and his mom found him floating on his back" says Pyrek. "Thank goodness he knew what to do."
The course costs around six hundred dollars. There are four instructors on Oahu, none yet on Neighbor Islands.
Contact one of these instructors to sign up your child:
Honoluu (Aina Haina) - Jens Trumpa
Kailua (Enchanted Lake) - Deb Pyrek
Waipahu (Kunia) - Aisha Romero
ISR National Site