TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA)-Jala Ozbirn of New Albany is an Infant Swimming and Rescue Instructor.
She spends her summer days having fun in the water with infants and children, but more importantly she is teaching them skills that could save their lives.
"Babies 6-12 months learn to rotate from a face down position in the water into a back float, and remain floating and resting until help were to arrive," explains Ozbirn. "Children 1 and walking up to 6 years old learn how to hold their breath, swim face down in the water, rotate in the water to float rest and breathe, and flip over to continue swimming to find an exit to the pool or until an adult can rescue them."
The lessons Ozbirn teaches are 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
The course lasts anywhere from 3-6 weeks. She is certified in ISR because teaching children who aren't able to speak can be tricky.
"The lessons aren't verbal everything is learned by touch and feel," says Ozbirn. "They are all based off of sensory motoring learning."
The very first lesson the babies are taught is to hold their breath, and Ozbirn says although watching the kids progress through the weeks is very fulfilling hearing stories of the children actually using the skills is most satisfying for her.
"We finished a little boy in New Albany in the spring, and the very next week they were having a cook-out at their house," says Ozbirn. "They had already finished swimming, and the little boy went in for a toy. The mom said she just heard a tiny splash and when she turned around she couldn't find him. When she went up to the edge of the pool he came up and he was floating."