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Baby's Self-Rescue Swim Lesson Shocks the Internet, But Mom Stands Firm

The Short of It

A video of a 6-month-old baby using Infant Swimming Resource techniques to save herself from drowning is proving controversial for some, but her mom isn't wavering.

The Lowdown

It's easy to understand Florida mom Keri Morrison's motivation for wanting her daughter, Josie, to take swim lessons to learn how to save herself in the water. Morrison's son, Jake, drowned when he was 2 years old after he went out the back door of their home and fell off a dock.

But can a baby as young as 6 months old actually prevent herself from drowning? According to Infant Swimming Resource, the answer is yes.

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ISR techniques were used to train Josie to roll over and turn onto her back when she falls into the water. That's what you see in the video that has some people up in arms. From there, Josie can be seen floating for about a minute.

"You're seeing a 6-month-old sitting on the steps playing, which can be a real life situation. She falls in, and she turns over and saves herself and floats for over a minute and a half. I don't see how there could be anything negative about that," Morrison said during an interview on the Today show.

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The emotional mom, who also has another daughter, added, "I wish I could go back in time and put my son in these lessons. I'm pretty confident that he would be here, and as a parent, I felt like I failed my son, and I was just determined that was not going to happen with my daughters."

The Upshot

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics' advice on drowning protection, swimming lessons cannot "drown-proof" a child of any age. However, "children ages 1 to 4 may be less likely to drown if they have had formal swimming instruction."

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We live on a lake, and we're always in and around water. So my kids have always been in swim lessons, even from a young age. I am a strong believer that the more comfortable a child is in the water, the safer they are. I'd rather have my children know how to float on their backs and know that breathing the water can hurt them, then know nothing at all if the very worst case scenario happened. That being said, of course parental supervision is the most effective way to prevent drowning.

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