Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of 4 in 23 U.S. states. Nationwide, it ranks second only to vehicle accidents. On average, 11 children drown every day.
“With ISR training, just because a child wanders to the pool alone doesn’t mean he has to die there, and that’s our mission,” says JoAnn Barnett, Infant Swimming Resource president and CEO.
Infant Swimming Resource, or ISR, is a 47-year-old program that aims to prevent pediatric drowning through instruction to children as young as 6 months. CrossFit Kids has partnered with the program.
While in Santa Cruz, Calif., earlier this year, Barnett taught 7-month-old Estella—daughter of Jessica Wheeler and UFC fighter Gray Maynard—how to roll over and save herself in the pool.
“She did cry through the learning process—and most children do—but once they’re competent in the water, the crying goes away and you have a child who’s a lot safer,” Barnett explains.
For Wheeler, the experience was intense.
“But it’s really magical to watch your child learn and be able to save themselves and survive in the water,” she says.
Video by Dave Leys.
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Additional reading: One Baby at a Time by Andréa Maria Cecil, published Sept. 20, 2013.