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Valley kids take survival swim lessons to become water-safe year-round

Parents are turning to ISR swim lessons to prevent childhood drownings.

MESA, Ariz. — It’s a long weekend, and a lot of Arizonans are spending time by the pool to cool off. So, it’s important to remember to always have eyes on children, especially because kids ages 1 to 4 are at the highest risk for drowning.

One way some Valley children are learning how to swim is through ISR or Infant Swimming Resource Lessons. Becki Pinckard, a certified ISR master instructor, explains how she teaches one of her 8-month-old students. 

“(ISR) teaches children how to roll to their back, to rest and breathe and then to flip back over and continue swimming to be able to get to an edge," Pinckard said.

Pinckard teaches water safety skills to children ages 6 months to 6 years, and sometimes even older.

“Breath control is our number one priority in ISR," she said. "We don’t move on to any other skills until they’ve learned to hold their breath. And it usually only takes two to three minutes into the first lesson.”

RELATED: Valley mom shares story of infant's near-drowning as swim season begins

They're all skills that mom Brittany Barnum is thankful her 8-month-old is learning. 

“To make sure that he knows how to swim and if it can give me just even a couple extra minutes while he’s floating on his back in case of an emergency to get to him, absolutely," Barnum said.

The swim lessons are an added layer of protection to taking other safety measures around pools like constant adult supervision and added barriers.

And for children who are a little older, the one-on-one ISR lessons go steps further.

“He’s 1-and-a-half, walking and adventurous little toddler," Pinckard said. "So we teach him to swim out to us from the steps, swim back to the step, take a breath in between by rolling to his back if he needs to.”

Pinckard adds that they’re also taking extra precautions for families because of the coronavirus.

“We only have one child in the water at a time," she said. "We are able to sanitize and disinfect in between each lesson.”

Life-saving lessons preparing these children for a lifetime around the water.

“I couldn’t be more proud sitting here watching him turn to his back and float and possibly buy himself a few extra minutes in case of emergency," Barnum said.

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