ISSA Position Statement #6: Child Protection

Nurturing Safe and Trauma-Free Learning Environments


The International Swim Schools Association (ISSA) stands as the collective voice for aquatic educators dedicated to providing positive learning experiences for the children and families they serve. This position statement focuses on the overarching theme of child protection and safety practices within swim schools.


In alignment with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, ISSA is committed to maintaining an environment where children are shielded from any form of physical or mental violence, injury, abuse, neglect, or maltreatment. A universal theme upheld by ISSA is absolute respect for the rights of the child, including listening to and validating input from the child regarding their needs and feelings.

ISSA rejects the use of force, toxic stress, or any actions likely to inflict trauma on children during swimming lessons. The focus is on immediate intervention and support whenever indicators of a child being unhappy, disengaged, or upset emerge. The paramount importance lies in creating a safe and nurturing space for the child’s growth and development.


By championing child protection and safety practices, ISSA not only adheres to international standards but also contributes to the holistic well-being of children and their families. This commitment ensures that swimming lessons are not only skill-focused but, more importantly, foster an environment free from force, toxic stress, and trauma.


UN Convention on the rights of the child (UNCRC)

UN Convention on the rights of the child (UNCRC)

FS Waters, L DCSW – 2016 –

Healing the fractured child: Diagnosis and treatment of youth with dissociation

FS Waters – ISSTD News, 2005 –

Recognizing dissociation in preschool children