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Like many parents of young children, Casey Staudt wants to make sure her 1-year-old daughter, Parker, is as safe as possible.

“Anything can happen in a matter of seconds when it comes to babies and kids,” Staudt, 30, said.

After learning CPR, her husband Caleb did research on more preventative and lifesaving techniques for their child. Through his research, he found the Baby Otter Swim School, a program based out of South Florida.

Staudt’s baby, along with 11 other Victoria-area babies and toddlers, will learn swimming survival techniques through the Baby Otter Swim School this week.

Eight children under the age of 8 have drowned in 2019 so far, according to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

Drowning is also a leading cause of accidental death for kids under the age of 5, with toddlers especially at risk, according to the state agency. Last year, a 3-year-old Victoria County boy drowned after he wandered into a neighbor’s pond.

Through the help of the Baby Otter Swim School program, tragedies can be prevented, said Dave Silbar, a spokesman for the program. The swim instructor, Mindy York, will teach the group of children a patented technique called the “Turn, Kick, Reach” system, which establishes the proper lifesaving techniques for a child who accidentally falls in the water, according to a Baby Otter Swim School news release.

Staudt said her husband liked that the class, which is typically a five-week course, can be taught in 30-minute increments in five days.

“We just didn’t want to send her (Parker) to the normal swim lessons – she’s not fearful of water, and this is more of a survival technique,” Staudt said. “We’re around so much water that we felt that it was really important to try to get the baby swim school here.”

The total cost for the lesson, registration and lodging and airfare for the instructor is about $750, she said. Each lesson offers one-on-one training with the instructor, Staudt said, in case a child needs more help.

The class is not open to the public and will take place at a private home.

Staudt looks forward to learning the technique and for her daughter to be prepared for the water.

“There’s no such thing as ‘they’re too young,’ and this is a great age to teach her because she’s walking, she’s fearless and she’s around water,” Staudt said. “We just want to prevent any kind of tragedy.”

Amber Aldaco reports on education for the Victoria Advocate. She may be reached at or 361-580-6303.

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Education Reporter

Amber Aldaco is the education reporter at the Victoria Advocate. She's covered various events in the Crossroads including a zoo rescue, a biker funeral and a state meeting with the governor. She enjoys singing with her significant other.

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