Upstate swim instructors teach infants to self-rescue - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate swim instructors teach infants to self-rescue

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Baby Henry learns to float on his back in case he falls in the pool (FOX Carolina) Baby Henry learns to float on his back in case he falls in the pool (FOX Carolina)

It's a scary thing for a parent to watch. Their infant, struggling in the water - with minimal assistance. 

Still, instructors with Infant Swimming Resource say babies as young as six months need to know how to save themselves, just in case they fall in any body of water. 

"We teach children to swim and self rescue," said IRS instructor Brennan Townsend. "If they fall into the water, they will learn to hold their breath and to rest and breathe in the back-float until someone comes to grab them."

Seeing instructors teaching the infants how to self-rescue was jarring at first for mom Meghan Arquette, whose son Henry started the program this year. As a nurse, she has seen firsthand the devastation child-drownings bring on families. 

"I don't want my child there," said Arquette. "I don't think any parent should have to bury their children. Life happens, people get distracted," she added.

Distraction is the number one reason instructors said self-rescue is important to teach to babies. Parents, often occupied by other children or other things, can turn their back for one second, and tragedy can strike. 

"It just makes us feel more confident and comfortable with her having this skill now," mom Myra Simmons said of her infant daughter Calynn.

A recent video on Facebook posted by a Florida mom generated debate over the safety and effectiveness of self-rescue methods. The mother's infant daughter is shown falling into a pool, and flipping herself over, staying afloat for minutes. Some have called the technique dangerous, others said more babies should be taught how to self-rescue. 

"We are equipping children to be aquatic problem solvers," said Townsend. 

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