TYLER, Texas (KETK) – With more families headed to the pool or lake to beat this triple-digit heat, swim instructors are stressing the importance of teaching your little one how to swim. It is just as much of a life skill as walking and talking, except this skill can save your life. A major concern this time of year is drowning, but there are other forms of drowning that are less common but equally as scary.

Doctor Douglas Barron, who practices family medicine at Christus Trinity Mother Frances in Longview, says that there is also ‘dry drowning’ and ‘secondary drowning’. They are commonly interchanged, but actually have subtle differences. Dry drowning is when a child inhales water through their nose or mouth while underwater. 

“That causes a spasm which causes the vocal cords to close off the airway,” explains Barron.

But secondary drowning is when they actually ingest that water into their lungs, which can lead to lung damage. That’s why experts stress the importance of knowing the warning signs such as “shortness of breath, cough, any chest pain, or difficulty catching their breath,” says Barron.

Swim instructors at East Texas Aquatics offer different levels of classes for different aged children. They even partner with a certified instructor who teaches ISR, or Infant Swimming Resources. That’s where they will take a child as young as six months old and actually throw them into the water, teach them to roll over and how to float themselves to safety. The board president at ETA says the younger you can teach them, the better. 

“It’s really good for if your kid were to fall into a pool or something like that,” says Jason Montier with East Texas Aquatics. 

Experts say that there are different precautions you can take if your child is not a strong swimmer. They say to keep a flotation device on them at all times, and if your house has a pool to make sure that it is fenced off. 

They add that swimming is more than just kicking your legs and moving your arms, but it teaches your child how to save their own life. Because of the importance of this skill, instructors cannot stress enough to make sure your child is learning from someone who is certified.