Now that Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson East’s baby daughter Drew Hazel East has earned a gold medal in walking (and in leotard-wearing), she’s moved on to the next sport: swimming. Yep, at less than one year old this little gal is hitting the pool — thanks to the Infant Self-Rescue (ISR) technique. On its site, ISR claims to be “the safest provider of survival swimming lessons for children 6 months to 6 years of age” and its key is all about building confidence, so parents can raise skillful swimmers who will prioritize safety instead of, say, panicking and flailing if an issue arises.
“We’re around lakes and oceans and pools a lot, she loves the water and she’s drawn to it, we knew it was really important for us to prepare her,” Johnson East says in a video she posted to Instagram Monday. Please watch below and appreciate the extreme joy that is observing baby Drew (and her LEGSSS) splash around in the pool, go under more than once, fuss for five seconds, and eventually emerge with a giggle like the total champ she is.
But all this joy had a tragic starting point: Johnson East goes on to explain that the reason she and husband Andrew East are so invested in teaching Drew ISR is because their dear friends Bode and Morgan Miller tragically lost their baby girl in a drowning accident.
In the video, Johnson East notes that the Millers have “become such a voice in trying to prepare parents and encouraging parents to do ISR.”
The video then cuts to Morgan herself, explaining that drowning is “the number-one thing that can kill your child if they’re under the age of five. No one is exempt from this. It can happen to any child at any time.”
Lisa Zarda, executive director of the United States Swim School Association (USSSA), previously told SheKnows that the vast majority (9/10) of child drowning deaths happen when an adult is nearby but not quite supervising closely enough. Plus, with the pandemic shutting down group activities such as swim classes, Zarda adds that her organization is “extremely concerned that without swim lessons, there may be an increase in drowning incidences.”
Bottom line: Teach your kids to swim! You can start early, like Johnson East did, but if you didn’t toss kiddo in at 10 months old like little Drew, don’t worry. It’s never too late to start prioritizing safety.
For more how-to on keeping kids (of all ages) safe while swimming, check out our guide here.
Keep little feet safe and stable for running, wading and more with these kids shoes and sandals.