Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about our swim programs, franchising and policies.

Baby Otter Swim School offers a variety of private swim lessons to fit your level of experience. If you’re not sure where to begin or have a question about becoming a franchisee, please check our frequently asked questions below.


What will my child learn in 5 TKR lessons?

Your child will learn to hold their breath, put their face in the water, and swim both to the steps and wall of the pool. The final stage is learning what to do if they fall into a body of water; they learn to turn back to where they fell in, kick their feet, reach for the edge or steps, and climb out.

Why is the system so successful?

We have been successful because we teach with tender loving care and great patience; we are consistent and persistent, we build their skills on a gradual basis in the 5 days so the child becomes comfortable and confident in the water. The one on one is the best way for their first experience in the water. The system has proven itself over and over again for 40 years.

At what age do you start teaching children?

We will begin instruction as early as nine months of age, although it is never too late to start. As soon as a child can crawl, they need to know how to swim. Statistics reveal that children under the age of 3 do drown and need to develop skills to increase their chances of survival should an incident occur. We teach children of all ages about water safety and provide swim programs designed for adults.

Why should we be concerned about teaching our child to swim?

Drowning is the #1 cause of death for children ages 1 to 4 in Florida.

75% of victims are ages 12 to 25 months old.
65% drown in the family pool.
33% drown in a neighbors’ or relatives’ pool.
For every child that drowns, 4 are hospitalized for near non-fatal drowning.
77% were missing less than 5 minutes.

Why should you use our program?

Our program is state and nationally certified equivalent to the American Red Cross and YMCA. We have a professional team of positive, loving instructors committed to solving childhood drowning. It is always a good idea to choose a licensed program with a proven system for success. We have been saving lives for decades.

Should children learn to blow bubbles before they are old enough to learn strokes?

It is essential that until your child is going to learn strokes, you never allow them to blow bubbles. The reason for this is that their lungs act as balloons and help keep them afloat. Blowing the air out and making bubbles will cause them to sink, making it harder for them to try and save themselves.

What should you know about the person/school you chose for your child’s lessons?

Ask questions when interviewing different swim schools. See if they are certified, are they insured, how much experience they have had teaching the age group of your child and what age groups do they teach? Are classes offered for private lessons and group lessons? Which method is the parent comfortable with for their child? Is it really more expensive when other school’s charge monthly UNTIL your child swims? What does that mean in dollars and time?

What is the philosophy of Baby Otter Swim School?

Baby Otter Swim School believes that a child’s first experience in the water should be private lessons. This one-on-one instruction gives full attention to your child and their needs. We know that a child may cry at first during their lessons because we are strangers, they are in a strange place and the idea of being in the water is very new to them. We love them through it using positive reinforcement and loving words. The personalized attention given to your child is vital for their first introduction to the water.

What type of education does the instructor need to teach swimming?

Your child’s instructor should have more than a lifeguard certification. The instructor should have a national certification where they have learned the proper techniques to teach swimming or water safety. Baby Otter Swim School has its own state and national certification. Our Turn, Kick, Reach (TKR) program teaches a child to save themselves if they should fall into the water. After that, we start teaching beginning strokes and many more advanced levels all the way to the swim team. The instructor should also be certified in CPR. At Baby Otter our instructors are trained through our nationally certified program and are lifeguards as well.

What type of swim lessons is most beneficial for a child’s first experience in the water, group or private?

As our philosophy states, we highly recommend private swim lessons for your child’s first experience. After their private lessons of Turn, Kick, Reach, we suggest that you place your child in a group class with other children that have completed the TKR classes. After the TKR group class we suggest a private class in beginning strokes. We start with 5 days of level 1. Once the skills are mastered we have two additional levels. All program descriptions are listed under our program section.

Which swim programs are qualified to teach toddlers?

You need to ask what ages they start to teach children to swim. If you have a toddler or a child that has never experienced lessons before, ask what specifically your child will learn. When you call our office and inquire about lessons we explain exactly what your child will learn. Young children under age 2 need to learn water survival and then move onto a more advanced level of swimming.

Is there anything I can do at home to help my childs' swim progress?

After our instructor teaches you how to practice with the appropriate techniques we teach the child, we can’t reiterate enough about how important practice is.  While lessons are going on, we ask for positive reinforcement, clapping, and positive verbiage.

What if my child is afraid of going in the water? How do you help them overcome it?

Most children are afraid of the water, which is why we teach them ahead of time the proper way to hold their breath, open their eyes so there are never any surprises. A lot of parents teach their kids to close their eyes. We teach the exact opposite because closing their eyes makes the darkness scary.  Most of them learn to love putting their face in the water to the point where we must hold them up to keep their face out of the water.

What should I have prepared for our first lesson?

Towels, making sure they had a light meal (no dairy before), and speaking positively about how amazing it is that they will be learning how to swim, and you can swim together soon.

Do you offer any payment plans?

We have a third-party finance company that can help with the payment. Please reach out and we can assist you.

Does your pricing differ per program?

We have one set price, not a continual weekly fee or monthly fee which means we get the job done in half the time so it’s ultimately less expensive for a proven system of success. We prefer to discuss what you are paying for with one of our aquatic representatives. Reach out today to get started!

What happens if we need to cancel?

Sometimes things come up and you must cancel for another time. We always hold your spot but there are no refunds.  All lessons scheduled are non-refundable

How long is each private lesson?

Each private lesson is 30 minutes for FIVE DAYS. A TOTAL OF 2.5 HOURS OF TRAINING

Can I open my own baby otter swim school franchise?

ABSOLUTELY. We are looking for more amazing franchisees like we have to help us eradicate childhood drowning while building a financial future working for yourself. Visit our Franchise page for more information. 

How do I know which program is right for my child?

After speaking with one of our aquatic experts we will determine which level is best for your child by the parent answering a few key questions. View our swim program options here

Can we enroll siblings or neighbors or friends in the same class?

We can do friends or siblings each privately. We do not offer group lessons. In our experience a child learns best in private setting.

Can I choose the date, time and place of my private lesson?

You can absolutely request dates times and places. We try to accommodate as best we can due to availabilities!

Do you offer classes at hotels or resorts if I am on vacation?

We offer lessons at partnered resorts such as Orlando Marriott World Center, Westgate Villas, and Westgate Lakes Resorts in Orlando if you are a guest at these hotels.