ST. GEORGE — A video of a 6-month-old Florida girl falling face-down into a swimming pool has gone viral this week, garnering well over 1 million views. The video, which shows two adults watching an infant fall but neither stepping in to help her, has drawn both criticism and praise.
Instead of stepping in, the adults watch as the infant struggles, flips around and ends up floating on her back. After roughly 90 seconds, a woman lifts the baby out of the water and is heard saying, “I’ve got you, baby.”
The video footage, shown at the beginning of the video posted to this report above, was posted on Facebook with the caption: “So hard to watch but every kid should learn this young.” Currently, there are more than 3,000 comments on the Facebook video.
One comment posted read:
Mixed emotions! Good to teach young ones yes, but so upsetting watching her struggle, and clearly not like it! I understand this may save her life, but so will pool alarms, baby gates, supervision etc. I don’t even know how I feel about this video other than; sad! All I wanted to do was just pick her up and comfort her!
Another comment read:
A baby has zero reason to learn anything about the water at that age. They can barely control their limbs. Its the parents duty at that age to watch them like a hawk. A baby should NEVER be by or in a body of water without adults, period. So this is just not that well thought out
While some may find the video hard to watch, it undoubtedly raises awareness of drowning, which is the leading cause of accidental death for toddlers ages 1 to 3.
The infant in the video has been trained in Infant Swimming Resource, or ISR – a unique system of survival techniques designed to keep kids afloat in any body of water until help arrives.
Going beyond traditional swim instruction, children as young as 6 months old are taught how to survive alone in open water during the Infant Swim “self-rescue” training.
Babies are taught in 10-minute sessions, five days a week for four to six weeks to learn the program. ISR isn’t about teaching a baby to swim at a young age. It’s a survival technique to be used in a serious situation and may just help prevent an accidental drowning.
The roots of Infant Swim trace back to 1966 when Harvey Barnett, an 18-year-old lifeguard at the time, witnessed the aftermath of the drowning of his neighbor’s child. The tragic event inspired Barnett to begin teaching young children to swim.
Barnett’s observation of how children responded to certain types of communication and instruction techniques — even nonverbal infants — was the catalyst for 50 years of research and the eventual creation of ISR Self-Rescue. The technique has been used to train approximately 300,000 children.
Robyn Lamoreaux, the only certified ISR instructor in St. George, said she can teach these survival swim lessons to infants as young as 6 months old by teaching them to orient themselves in the water, roll to a back float position and breathe.
“Children older than a year can learn to swim a short distance, then roll back into a floating position to get a breath, and then turn back over to swim again,” Lamoreaux said. “We call it our swim-float-swim sequence.”
ISR is the safest aquatic survival program for infants and young children in the world, Lamoreaux told St. George News.
“It is our goal,” she said, “to teach young children the skills necessary to become aquatic problem solvers in the event they find themselves alone in a body of water.”
Keri Morrison, the mother of the 6-month-old girl in the video, has experienced every parent’s worst nightmare. Her 2-year-old son, Jake, accidentally drowned three years ago during a trip to Orlando after slipping out a back door and falling off a deck.
Morrison said she put her 6-month-old daughter in the ISR class in hopes of preventing another tragedy.
“I wish I could go back in time and put my son in these lessons,” Morrison told Today. “I’m pretty confident that he would be here, and as a parent, I felt like I failed my son, and I was just determined that was not going to happen with my daughters.”
Morrison and her husband have set up a foundation in memory of their son called Live Like Jake, which brings awareness to drowning prevention and provides scholarships for swim lessons to those who can’t afford them.
Ed. note: The opening footage of the baby doing infant swim in the video attached to this report was posted on Facebook; the balance of the video featuring Robyn Lamoreaux is St. George News sponsored content.
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