TUCSON – For the past decade, the News 4 Tucson lifesaver has been committed to keeping children safe in and around water by stressing the importance of classes for those who are most at risk for drowning.
One such program – Infant Swimming Resource – or ISR – helps teach the youngest children water-survival skills that could someday save their life.
“We are considered the last line of defense if your little one is to reach water alone, and they have to self-rescue in the water,” said Genna Aho, an ISR instructor on Tucson’s northwest side.
For Aho, teaching even the smallest children isn’t just a job – it’s her mission.
“It’s really important to teach these skills to this little ones so that they learn how to respect the water, but also learn to do what they need to do to save themselves, if they were to find themselves in that situation,” Aho told the News 4 Tucson Lifesaver.
Learning those lifesaving skills starts at an early age, as ISR classes are scheduled for ten minutes a day, five days a week for six weeks.
The program teaches children as young as six-months-old how to roll onto their backs in a pool, and save their own lives.
“Children are naturally attracted to water. They are thinking about water when we are not. They see that water, and they go for it,” Aho told the News 4 Tucson Lifesaver.
Though valuable, the ISR lessons are not always easy for some children.
“They can be upset in the water, but as soon as they have the confidence they need, they’re usually pretty happy swimmers and floaters,” Aho told the News 4 Tucson Lifesaver.
For parents, ISR helps add a layer of protection when it comes to drowning prevention.
“It gives me a huge peace of mind, even though, I mean I feel like as a parent, you can’t take away watching your child,” said Malinda Hopkins, whose one-year old daughter, Sadie, is learning those lifesaving skills.
Giving little ones a chance in case they fall into the water is what ISR is all about.
“They kind of have that muscle-memory of turning over, floating, and breathing,” said Megan Shaw, whose daughter, Ember just turned two-years-old.
Ember started in ISR at just nine-months old, and today, she is proof that with a little time, and a patient teacher, her hard work in the pool is paying off.
“I think your children are worth it,” Shaw told the News 4 Tucson Lifesaver.