Infants, Pools & Responsibility

Do you have a pool and infants in your life?

Fifteen years ago a fantastic mom and facilitator who taught my Team Leadership seminar for one of our clients found her two-year-old face-down in their pool. Luckily the child had just fallen in and was not yet drowned. It was a nerve-racking experience.

It was an in-ground pool in a lovely Austin, Texas home, just a few steps from the kitchen and family-room doors across the concrete patio to the pool. Needless to say, with-in hours contractors were contacted to alter the doors, latches, locks, and build an iron fence around the pool.

Leslie, the mom, told me she and her husband had standards about keeping the doors shut and latched, but somehow that morning the back kitchen door was ajar enough for her baby to toddle out and fall face-first into the pool.

There is some scary imagery for you.

Lifeguard marries into Coast Guard family

Recently my brother-in-law, a teacher and retired Coast Guard helicopter pilot and base commander (claims he used to have to fly over Miami and Bahamas beaches doing bikini checks), sent around a cool video promoting the Infant Swim Resource. As a former beach lifeguard in high school and college, and now a social-psychologist and teacher of personal responsibility…

I found this more than cool


The Infant Swimming Resource (ISR) mission is to get to the next child before that child gets to the water. It is the result of 40 years of research by a behavioral psychologist named Harvey Barnett.

They actually teach infants to save themselves. And, they report over 700 documented cases of self-rescue by infants they have trained.

When I was a lifeguard I used to cringe when I heard adults tell their kids Don’t go near the water or you will drown. Talk about the Law of Attraction, planting beliefs, and self-fulfilling prophecy. Dr. Barnett’s technique teaches infants that they have problem-solving skills they can put to use. So now adults can say Hey, if you go near the water you might have to rescue yourself, which of course you can.

Now that’s responsibility redefined!

In case you think I’m callous

I’ll add ISR promotes adult supervision as the #1 source of preventing infant drownings. I agree. (I’m just saying… you know?)

I tip my hat to Dr. Barnett

Maybe ISR is a cause I should get behind and use the Responsibility Redefined platform to promote. Maybe I should invite Dr. Barnett onto my Beyond Obligation radio talk show…

What do you think?

Posted in Responsibility on 12/31/2008 10:36 am
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