Knoxville swim instructor aims to save infant lives

Aug. 1, 2017: A certified Infant Aquatics Instructor is teaching kids to swim at an early age, helping them learn a life-saving skill.

KNOXVILLE - Camilla Hephner's job is to teach toddlers to swim, and she's doing it when they're younger than you think.

On Tuesday, the certified Infant Aquatics Instructor held lessons at her home with kids as young as 15-months-old.

"For a lot of people it's not normal to see a 2-year-old swim across the pool," said Hephner. "But for us, it's totally normal."

They may not always love the water, but Hephner's goal with these kids is to make them comfortable.

"10 minutes a day being upset for a couple weeks is a lot better than losing your kid because they don't have the skills they need," she said. "They just gain so much confidence and skill around the water it's really amazing."

Two toddlers drowned in East Tennessee waters over the past weekend, one in Douglas Lake and the other in Cherokee Lake.

It's becoming a tragic theme.

But they aren't always deadly.

Jefferson County Sheriff Bud McCoig said a young girl almost drowned, but managed to keep her head above water in a close call back in June.

"When our officers got there, they investigated and found that a 3-year-old had been found in the water by the other sister of the floating face up 3-year-old, but she was saved, she didn't drown, she survived, but it was great," said McCoig.

Hephner's lessons teach infants to keep their face pointing toward the sky, floating on their back.

They're skills parents say are worth every penny.

Trinity Broyles, who has a 15-month-old daughter in the program, says he wants to show her what the water feels like early in her life.

"If the unfortunate accident was to happen that she fell in, that she would have the simple survival skills you know that she could use to help give us a few seconds to jump in and get her," said Broyles.

And Hephner says it could mean life or death.

"We want them to know that if you don't have the right skills, yeah, the water's scary, and that's why I teach these skills because they learn what to do if they fall in the water, if the water's too deep, deeper than they think when they get in," said Hephner.

She wants to prevent a tragedy.

"I don't want to hear of any more drownings in our area," said Hephner. "I want every child to be equipped with the skills they need to be able to survive these situations."

If you want more information on Hephner's swimming lessons program, head to her website, or you can find her on Facebook.

© 2017 WBIR.COM


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