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To Prevent Drowning, Class Teaches Infants Self-Rescue Skills

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Instructor Kim Rackley and Benjamin, 2. Instructor Kim Rackley and Benjamin, 2.
15-month-old Tully showing off his floating skills. 15-month-old Tully showing off his floating skills.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

This summer is turning out to be a deadly one on Oklahoma waters. At least seven people have drowned in about the last week, and at least two of the victims were trying to rescue young children who were having trouble in the water.

There have been several near drowning incidents involving kids this summer, which makes the Infant Self Rescue course seem like a really good idea for parents.

The course is an international program that's taught in Tulsa.

The parents we met always keep an eye on their kids, but accidents happen, and this class can be a life-saver.

Ashley Cockerham is no longer afraid to have her son, Tully, around water.

"Swimming pools, hot tubs, lakes, ponds. We just really wanted to give him the skills to be able to turn over and float until someone can come help him," Cockerham said.

Cockerham's 15-month-old just graduated from Infant Self Rescue, or ISR classes with Kim Rackley as the instructor.

Because of his age, Rackley taught Tully the floating method.

"Kids are naturally attracted to the water so you want to give them the skills to save themselves if they fall into the water," said Rackley

In daily 10-minute lessons, Tully learned how to roll himself over and float until help arrives.

"We've seen him pop right up into a float and he might not like it, it might scare him that, ‘Hey, I went under water, I wasn't expecting it, my face is all wet,' but he absolutely goes right into ISR mode," Cockerham said.

Older kids, like 2-year-old Benjamin, learn how to swim then float to catch their breath, and finally swim again.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for kids ages one to four.

Jessica Block did not want Benjamin to become that statistic.

"I have 100% confidence that—really, no matter what kind of body of water it was—that he would be fine until we found him," Block said.

At the end of the program, kids are tested in their clothes instead of a swimsuit.

"We do summer clothes and then we do winter clothes just to make sure that if they fall in fully clothed, that they can still do their skills," Rackley said.

The program has 790 documented cases of children using ISR's techniques to save themselves from drowning.

To find an ISR course or instructor near you, visit: www.infantswim.com

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