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Why HSC instead of ISR?

You may have seen the videos online or heard stories about “Water Survival” lessons such as ISR (Infant Swimming Resource-Self Rescue Program).  You may have even been tempted to enroll your baby (age 4 months old through 30 months old) in ISR lessons.  Deciding what is best for YOUR baby is a tough choice and shouldn’t be taken lightly! It is important that you get the facts about the differences between swim lesson programs before choosing between Houston Swim Club (or a similarly structured swim school) and ISR. While both types of programs are certainly concerned with the safety of babies around water, there are undeniable differences in the approach taken to get results.  Let’s look at three monumental differences:


If you choose to pursue an infant survival swimming program like ISR, one of the first things you might notice is that the parent is asked to stay on the sideline. The baby will be in the water with the instructor, who will take them through a set of skills. Parents are asked to keep their interactions with their child to a minimum as they observe from the side of the pool.

Houston Swim Club believes strongly in parental involvement during baby swim lessons.  In fact, we have seen many benefits to having the classes structured so that a parent is always in the water with baby.  Throughout the lessons, parents will help the baby learn new skills under the supervision and instruction of the teacher. First and foremost, it creates a special bonding time for the baby and the parent.  It is comforting to the baby (and to the parent) to have both involved in the learning process and new experiences that swim lessons offer. 


Many ISR techniques mimic how it would feel for a baby to be in the water alone, and this can be stressful for the child. Since ISR lessons are between the instructor and the child, it has been reported that children may cry or yell as a result of being separated from their parent in this seemingly scary new environment. Since survival is the goal in survival swim lessons, the class typically continues on despite how the baby may respond. ISR is known to use “fear-based conditioned learning” by simulating what would happen if a child fell in the water. This style of teaching includes repeated drops into the water and being pushed off the edge of the pool to know what it feels like to fall in.  

Houston Swim Club offers a positive environment for learning.  We consider our approach “LOVINGLY DISCIPLINED” by teaching with love and joy in a happy, positive, and structured atmosphere.  We combine a safe, nurturing, and loving environment with over 50 years of professional experience to teach babies to achieve swimming goals while having FUN!


Infant survival swimming lessons like ISR are structured to take place in a condensed period of time. Classes are ten minutes long, every day (Monday through Friday) for four to six weeks. Once a specific skill level is reached, classes are stopped and an annual refresher of skills is recommended from that point forward.

Houston Swim Club offers year round lessons with levels that build upon the previous one.  Lessons are progressive and are meant to complement each other in order to teach proper strokes from the very first lesson. The longer a child swims with us, the more confident and comfortable he or she will become, whether they choose to swim competitively or recreationally. 

There are numerous differences between survival swim classes and baby swimming classes at a swim school like ours. Ultimately, it’s up to you as the parent to learn about the reasons behind the approaches, and make the decision as to what will work best for your child and your family.  We are VERY PASSIONATE about what we do and why we do it and will be happy to guide you and give you our professional advice at any time. 

Mar 3, 2017
"Swim Lessons" 

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