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Husband and wife open survival swim school to raise drowning prevention, save lives

Keeping kids safe by the pool
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 11:27 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Pool days are in full effect this summer, and the possibility of drowning can be nerve-wracking for parents with young children.

That fear is what caused one local husband and wife team to open up their own swim survival school.

Nicole and Karl Nusshag, owners and founders of Aqua Baby Survival Swim School, work with children as young as 6 months old to make sure they’re comfortable and confident in the water.

They say it’s never too early to practice water safety with your little ones. That way if the unthinkable happens and your child falls in the water, they know what to do to survive.

“We’re putting safety first. Before kids are learning the water’s fun, we want to make sure they’re safe in the water and once they’re safe we can incorporate the fun,” Nicole said.

The Nusshags started Aqua Baby Survival Swim School four summers ago shortly after moving from Alabama to Tucson.

“We were living in Alabama where we owned a house with a pool. My oldest daughter was 16 months old at the time and I wanted her to be safe,” Nicole said.

Nicole said they had a hard time finding survival swim lessons for babies in southern Arizona, so they decided to offer the life-saving courses out of their backyard.

“A child can drown in 30 seconds. That’s a quick head turn, you have multiple children, you’re trying to help another child and the other sneaks off. It’s important your child knows how to save themselves if they were to find the water,” Nicole said.

Nicole and Karl use different techniques based on the age and confidence of the child in the water.

If a child cannot walk but they can roll over both ways on land, they will learn how to roll over and float in the water. If a child can walk, they will learn how to swim, flip over, float and then swim to a nearby edge.

Saundra Couturier said her 1-year-old daughter, Amelia, has been taking lessons at Aqua Baby Swim Survival School since she was 6 months old. She said it was hard at first watching her baby cry in the water, but said she eventually enjoyed the lessons and believes it was one of the best decisions she ever made.

“You can take every precaution you want, you can put up a pool fence, put up a door alarm, it isn’t going to help if your kid slips out the back door and falls into a pool,” Couturier said.

Nicole said a lot of expecting parents are taught about the importance of car seats, but no one mentions how fast a child can drown.

Through Aqua Baby Survival Swim School, the Nusshags hope they can spread awareness and save lives.

“There are things that as a parent are really hard to watch our child struggle as they’re learning, but it’s our job to keep them safe,” Nicole said.

For 6 weeks children get one-on-one training weekly. Following that initial 6 weeks, group classes are offered to make sure children get even more comfortable and confident in the pool.

If you are interested in signing up or speaking to Nicole and Karl, click here.

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