What is Self Rescue

Self rescue was founded in 1966 by Dr. Harvey Barnett. As an active lifeguard with a passion for water safety, Barnett witnessed the tragic aftermath when a neighbour’s child drowned. At that moment, he vowed to do everything possible to help prevent drowning. His technique is the foundation of our approach.

Self Rescue is a child’s ability to independently roll onto their back and float and breath without panicking, until help arrives or until they can reach a safe point. This life saving course is not regular swimming lessons, however, once a child learns to roll over and stay afloat, relax and breathe whenever air is needed, they can really swim, conquer fear and experience the joy of water!

It’s not just about being comfortable in the water, it’s about being able to swim and survive!

The 6 pillars of learning


We want every child to be safe in the water, and create a safe teaching environment where your child instinctively knows how to rescue themselves when an accident occurs in the water.


We will help your child overcome any fear or inhibitions in the water creating a confidence that will help them learn to swim for life.


Your child will reconnect with the water and develop a deeper understanding. The relationship with the parent will expand and a new connection arises with us.


Our goal is to make learning fun so that your child will love being in the water! Happiness is key to both parent and child, and with this at the heart of our lessons, your child will learn their skills more easily and more assertively.


Trusting the process and a new awareness builds a lasting relationship with water.


Our dream is that your child grows up to enjoy swimming and healthy water activities in a safe and secure way for the rest of their lives.

Why Self Rescue

Give your child the competence, confidence and skills of aquatic safety with our carefully constructed lessons. We teach Self Rescue courses from as young as crawling age, helping babies enjoy the natural habitat of water through a strong bond with their parents in the water. This sets them up for a lifetime of fun, confidence and safety in the water. It is also proven that this technique helps a child’s development blossom with better concentration, improved motor skills and an all round more positive approach to life.

Holistic approach

Children of the Water’s teachings are all about learning and growing together in the water. We came from water and are made from water. Our guidance is not just to teach your child how to swim and survive in the water. Through trust, devotion and courage, your child and yourself will learn how to approach life challenges by overcoming fear. Water transmutes energy and is therefore the perfect place to work with emotions that may arise. So be prepared for a possible life changing experience and for your child to own these wonderful survival skills in the water!


How do we teach babies who cannot talk? Swimming and floating are motor skills that are taught through repetitive exercises, along with gentle verbal encouragement. We will show them what we want them to do, and over a short period of time, they will learn the skills necessary to survive. We will use a variety of methods, combining the best ideas from swim schools, infant/toddler programs throughout the world. Our goal is to make learning fun so that your child will love being in the water!

The sad facts

  • There are an estimated 360,000 accidental drowning accidents worldwide, and the number one victims are children and infants, including children who can swim.
  • Drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for infants and young children between the ages of 1-4. If they knew how to recuse themselves this number could be drastically reduced.
  • It is estimated that more than 85% of drowning cases can be prevented by enforcing the right methods, including Self Rescue.
  • Children are instinctively drawn to water. Drowning can occur in as little as 1 inch of water. A child will lose consciousness approximately 2 minutes after submersion. Irreversible brain damage occurs after 4-6 minutes.
  • Pool alarms, secure barriers and adult supervision are all preventative but watching your children is not enough to protect them from every hazardous water situation. Teaching children Self Rescue skills provides an extra layer of protection. Learning to roll onto their backs and float unassisted is crucial for survival.

Our Mission

Our mission is to help prevent the tragedy of drowning through education, training and fun, and help those around the world who would otherwise not have the opportunity to learn these life saving skills.

Our end goal is to make sure that EVERY child becomes a safe, happy and confident swimmer!

Children of the Water Foundation
Children of the Water Foundation brings these life saving skills to under privileged communities around the world. Teaching local children self rescue techniques that will help save their lives in potentially fatal drowning accidents.

Frequently asked questions

Our instructors have a wide range of qualifications from swimming instructors to yoga teachers, child specialists, pro athletes, the list goes on! However our Self Rescue training is extremely rigorous with over 100 hours of initial practical training alone.

Trauma is an unresolved issue of an experience, therefore if a child has had a traumatic experience in the water the best thing you can do is to help them through the trauma by bringing them to the water. We will help guide you and your child in a specialised unique way. It’s important that you as a parent are involved in this process as trauma can often be transferred from parent to child.

If your child does not like the water, we can help guide them through their fears and it’s all the more important to bring them to the water to overcome this.

If your child doesn’t stop crying in the water we will look at the reason why, with a holistic approach. Each child is totally different. This is why we offer one on one sessions so that we can work with the child’s individual needs and not in a group dynamic. Avoidance of the water may just prolong the upset. Enrolling your child in one of our courses even when they are crying means we can look at the root cause of their upset and guide them through it, so they feel safe and confident in the water.

Build confidence for both you and your child.

Experience real peace of mind, relieve and truly enjoy your time while your children. You will never have to be stressed again close to the water, near swimming pools or at the sea.