That is the magical question that is always on a parent’s mind.

As soon as a child is mobile or starts crawling they are able to learn how to swim. Children are able to understand everything we show and tell them, their response obviously depends on their age. The question that should be on every parent’s mind is ” If your child fell into the water, would they know what to do“?

Children under the age of 5 are the most susceptible to becoming drowning victims after disappearing for only a short period of time. For every child that drowns, four are hospitalized and  lucky to have survived the drowning.

Swim lessons are an invaluable skill for a child to learn how to save their own life in water. As much as we hope to always have a close eye on our smaller sized loved ones, circumstances change and things happen. “Layers of protection” keep you informed on the numerous ways to safe guard your pool and children. Physical barriers, door alarms, and adult supervision are all critical in battling drowning statistics. Survival swim lessons are just the beginning of teaching children and adults a life long skill.

When parents think of safety for their children they first think of car seats, locks on doors and cabinets, and the list goes on. Swimming lessons MUST be as important.

our private lessons are priceless.

our private lessons are priceless



Swimming lessons can be extremely stressful to both the child and parent. This much-needed life saving skill is essential to teach to our children the minute they begin to crawl. Drowning is the leading cause of death in children under the age of five, so the earlier a child is introduced to the water the better.  At the Baby Otter Andre Dawson Aquatic Center, we have been teaching children as young as ten (10) months old how to save themselves if they fall into the water for over 38 years, and we do this in just FIVE consecutive days.  We are considered experts in the field of aquatics and have had our Turn, Kick Reach® Swimming technique recognized by receiving its own state and national certification.

Our pool vs your pool is the question in this blog post today. We have taught both ways. After being in the industry for so many years we have realized that going to a pool that is familiar to both the child and parent works best. Our parents and little students feel a sense of ease and confidence that helps make the experience of learning to swim a much easier transition.   Being South Florida’s Premier Traveling Swim School allows us the opportunity to reach families that otherwise would not have traveled to our one location. We are expanding throughout the state and hope to have instructors teaching in every county in Florida very





The indescribable feeling of watching young children embrace the skills of our five day program is simply amazing. Watching the joy on the faces of these beautiful children when they finally accomplish the skill is so satisfying as a water safety instructor. Giving these children a sense of accomplishment, and their parents a sense of relief, is how we make a difference here at Baby Otter Andre Dawson Aquatic Center.

Two years ago, we received a phone call from a distraught parent, who had two Special Needs children. This poor mother was crying tears of fear and frustration because no one would teach her children how to swim. The following Monday, her two children were enrolled in our program.  They both did amazing during their week long training.  To say they passed the 5-day program with flying colors, is an understatement. They learned how to Turn, Kick, Reach and now swim daily with the family.  The pool is actually helping the younger child communicate by using his words.

Ten month old, Dominic, came to us because he had fallen into the water at a family function a few weeks prior to enrollment. Within five days, little Dominic was able to Turn, Kick, and Reach if he were to ever fall into the water. His mom was in tears and her hugs of gratitude were very heart warming.

Two year old Morgan came to us with serious OT issues and severe Torticolis. Her parents were not able to get her to kick her legs in the water. After completion of our program, Morgan’s neck was not as stiff and her kicks were harder than her five year old sisters. Her parents were overwhelmed with joy and still to this day, Morgan is a little fish in the water.

Teaching children to swim does more than provide safety to children. Water empowers Special Needs children in addition assists them exceed in their daily struggles. These are just a few examples of how The Baby Otter André Dawson Aquatic make a difference.




special-needs-swim-team-2Children with autism can benefit a great deal from physical activity, such
as swimming. Some of the benefits of the water are: ease repetitive behaviors, act as a social outlet, helps increase attention span, and swimming also reduces the risk of obesity and heart disease.

Swimming can be used as an OT experience. Swimming helps calm children with autism as it helps with their sensory. The feeling of having to push through the water helps calm their impulsive behaviors.

Autistic children also like to be under the water. Studies show that all of the noises disappear which gives these amazing kids a feeling of relief and freedom.

By allowing a child on the spectrum to express their inner self in the water, you are allowing them the freedom to be in control of their body. There is no better feeling for a child on the spectrum than to allow their body to relax and feel relieved like they do in the pool.


Our experience at Baby Otter has been incredibly successful teaching our Turn, Kick, Reach five (5) day program to these wonderful children. They feel such a sense of accomplishment using their new swimming skills.




flying in the air doing TKR

During the Holiday Season everyone tries to find the best and hottest new toy that is new, which tablet has the best features, or what piece of jewelry would their child like best?

Has anyone ever thought about giving the gift of life?  How would you feel if you knew that your child/niece/nephew/granddaughter/grandson, or just a friend’s child was able to save their life if falling into a body of water?

Three years ago, a student who just graduated from our private Turn, Kick, Reach program, was at a birthday party with her family.The little girl fell into the pool; everyone’s face went blank and everyone went in panic mode. The mother of the child told everyone to stop and see what happens. The little girl turned around after falling into the water. climbed out and ran to her mommy.

Swimming lessons do work!!!!!  Because  this little girl had the skills she needed to survive, she is spending the holidays with her family.

Before you go out and buy the most expensive toy, buy the gift that keeps on giving. BUY A WEEK OF SWIMMING LESSONS…

Baby Otter Andre Dawson Aquatic Center offers gift certificates for the holiday season that is good for one year after purchase.



054As the school year begins parents are dealing with school supplies, making morning adjustments after laying back over the summer and also after school activities. Many of the parents we know look for a sport that will teach their child how to be a team player, one that is great exercise and one that is safe. All of those qualities are what our swim team represents. Our #1 rated staff not only teaches at the practices but they inspire these kids. Unlike most swim teams our coaches are in the water working on proper stroke technique and encouragement through positive words and teaching them that they can do whatever they set their minds out to do. We have two teams ages 4-6 and another team ages 7-11. We hold practices on Monday and Wednesday afternoon for the little otters and on Tuesday and Thursday for the older otters.

Swim team is an excellent sport for children who benefit from an individual sport atmosphere, but also want to be part of a team. Swim team has both individual and team components. When competing in an individual event, the child’s goal is to improve their personal swim time. Their ability to place in the race generates points for their team.. If the kids are in a relay, they and three of their team mates compete together to improve upon their relay’s best time. The kids learn that their abilities matter both on a personal level as well as a team level.

Swim team is an excellent sport for children who benefit from an individual sport atmosphere, but also want to be part of a team.

Come Join the Fun. Call for more information 954-704-0080.



How do you decide who will tech your child to swim?  We are sure many parents ask that question. Since we have over 75 years of combined experience in the aquatic industry we thought it would be helpful to give all of our readers some helpful tips for that very important decision. First we would like to distinguish between a certified swim instructor and a certified lifeguard. Let’s start with a lifeguard. Lifeguards are very special people who go through intense training to learn how to rescue and if necessary perform the  medical assistance that a drowning victim could endure. They are trained for surveillance and rescue.  Most do not have a certification to teach swimming lessons as the two are very different. Don’t get me wrong, some lifeguards do get their swimming certification and do both as is the case at Baby Otter Andre Dawson Aquatic Center located in Fort Lauderdale Florida. Our swim instructors go through a rigorous training of months before we are certain they can work with a child in the water. Our philosophy is a child’s first experience should be private lessons one-on-one with the same instructor all week. They learn to bond and know what to expect every day they arrive.

In our experience going for lessons once a week is like starting over every week. Our program is NOT reliant on the Red Cross or the YMCA for their certification as most swim school do. We are a stand alone company that was recognized for our excellence and received our own state and national certification.

When you are looking for a good trained instructor remember to ask for the following: Where were they trained? How long have they been teaching? Ask to see a copy of their recent certification and also be sure they are licensed and insured. Many parents take this very important issue for granted and don’t think to ask. We also recommend that you ask for references. Finding a licensed, certified well trained instructor will be one of the most vital decisions you ever make. Don’t hire someone that you are not sure about because of  price. There is no dollar value when it comes to your child’s safety. What may appear to be cheaper up front could end up costing you more in the long run. Remember the key words used so frequently in this industry,”we will charge you $____ per class or per month until your child swims”. In addition to checking the instructor’s qualifications find out what  UNTIL means in dollars. andre and jayden

For more information on drowning prevention or finding a qualified instructor in your area please contact us at You can also find additional information on all aspects of aquatics on our new website



After returning from a day at the pool seeing all these amazing children learning to swim I reflect on how I got involved in this adventure of saving lives. When I was at a pool over 27 years ago with both of my children, my daughter decided to walk down the steps of the pool,  minutes later I found her laying on the bottom of the pool. I immediately pulled her from the water and started CPR. This one incident changed my life forever. I was now on a mission to make sure that what happened to me never happens to any other parent.

Being in the aquatic industry for over two decades I receive information on the drownings that happened. this article,0,1765684.story is what stops me in my tracks because every single one of these events were preventable. I can’t stress enough to parents, grandparents, caretakers, nanny’s child care centers, you must be sure that all layers of protection are in place and that someone knows CPR. Never leave a child unattended. Teach your children to swim. Know how to get out of a situation when going to the beach.

Be proactive when it comes to drowning instead of reactive. Understand that implementing the layers of protection will prevent a possible tragedy. At the Baby Otter Andre Dawson Aquatic Center in Fort Lauderdale Florida we teach life lessons throughMason's first swimming lessons 3-22-2012 swimming lessons and educating parents. We are saving lives every day one child at a time.



Two Year Old Saving His Own Life. 

If your child fell into the water would they know what to do?   Those of us who are fortunate enough to live in the sunshine state spend most of our time wearing shorts, bathing suits and spending time at the beach or in the water.  The message that we hope this blog brings to parents is that once your child learns to crawl they need to take swim lessons from a licensed  professionally trained instructor like those at the Baby Otter Andre Dawson Aquatic Center near Fort Lauderdale Florida. Children do not understand fear, they learn to be afraid by what us as parents instill into their little minds. When taught to swim at  a young age  they learn a love for the water that they take with them throughout their life. Swimming is empowering, swimming is great exercise and swimming is a life saving sport. Our staff teaches with so much love, persistence, and patience  that the results of the 5 day private program are nothing short of remarkable.  The video in this post is of a child (age 2) who recently completed the Turn, Kick Reach private program. He now loves to swim and doesn’t have to be afraid. This little otterette jumps in and turns around all day long. If I can stress one important message it would be the following: Swimming is like anything else in life, you learn something new, you go home and you  practice over and over again.. The parents that put their children through our program and practice for the two weeks see remarkable results.—AMAZING SWIMMERS!!!!!!



Jayden-front cover picture 2011Swimming is  usually a favorite for kids when it comes to exercise. The movement while playing in the water gives more calorie burning than most anything else they could do while having the lowest injury rate.  There are many physical benefits of swimming, and because of the low impact children and adults with health challenges can still participate.

Overweight children and adults who don’t enjoy many sports find swimming very enjoyable. Movement in the water is easier making fitness fun for even those who have shied away from other forms of exercise. A perfect example would be a child with Juvenile Arthritis (JA). The water actually helps the stiffness and muscle aches  and prevents more extensive joint issues which occurs when there is no exercise. The therapeutic advantages of the water are undeniable and have been proven over and over again. Asthma can be an issue with other sports while the water helps strengthen the lungs and allows continual exercise.

The most important issue concerning the benefits of swimming is the safety aspect. Learning to swim at a young age allows children the ability to participate in swimming activities like  swim teams, and for parents to know that their child can survive any water incident that may occur. The peace of mind is priceless. As one of the owners of this swim school I know very well  that a drowning can happen to anyone. When my child was 17 months old she walked down the steps and was lying on the bottom of the pool. I was one of the lucky ones because I knew one of the” layers of protection” CPR, so  my child survived and is now 29 years old and a mother herself. Her children (my grandchildren) learned before they were a year old the “Turn, Kick Reach” swimming technique. Now, my 4 year old  grandson (who has gone through all of our advanced programs) swims on our swim team and my 2 year old grandson jumps in the pool all day, turns around and gets out of the pool. Even though they are great swimmers they know to never swim alone. Parent Supervision is vital. 

Spring is in the air, the weather is beautiful and swimming is on the minds of everyone. Actually, with that said swimming should be on the minds of everyone all year round here in Florida. I never  understood why parents think that drowning is seasonal (LOL).  Make swimming an important part of your families activities. It is great exercise for the entire family and an amazing bonding experience. My grandson and I sit on the bottom of the pool together making faces at each other and swimming all around picking up toys. I know he will take these experiences with him through his entire life and remember our bonding time in the water.  Teach your kids to swim young so they never know to be afraid of the water. The longer you wait the deeper the fear sets in their minds. While they are young they don’t understand to be afraid of anything. We find at Baby Otter  with over 50 years of combined experience in this industry children learn better at a younger age. For more information tour our site


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