Focus at Four: Brazos Co. family shares story of loss, encourages water safety

Published: May. 23, 2017 at 4:53 PM CDT
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Michael and Jennifer Hojnacki had just enjoyed four days at Disney with their son Hunter, 11, and daughter Emma, 4, when tragedy struck.

The parents explain that they had left the kids in an activity center at a hotel they were visiting. They had understood this activity center to be supervised, not allowing children access to the pool area.

But when commotion began around the pool area, Michael and Jennifer knew something was wrong. As they rushed poolside, they saw Emma. The parents performed CPR on their child until paramedics arrived and took Emma to the hospital. It was there that Emma was pronounced dead.

"She was a 4-year-old bouncy, sweet little girl with an infectious smile," said Michael Hojnacki of his daughter.

Jennifer Hojnacki added, "She was always...ready to go on the next adventure."

The Hojnackis are turning their tragedy into a warning for other families. They've become involved in Colin's Hope, an organization working to prevent pediatric drowning deaths. For more information on Colin's Hope, visit the Related Links.

First News at Four also joined Marty Mulgrew from the City of Bryan Parks and Recreation department at the Bryan Aquatic Center. Mulgrew explains simple ways to help keep your kids safe during water play.

"The rules and regulations at the public pool? Parents have to help enforce those," said Mulgrew. Also, Mulgrew says it's a good idea to implement similar rules in private pools in your backyard.

Furthermore, Mulgrew touts the importance of using certified instructors when teaching your kids to swim and certified life floatation devices before they're comfortable doing so.

For more information on City of Bryan programs on water safety, see the Related Links.

For the full conversation with the Hojnackis and with Mulgrew, see the video player above.