Texas lawmakers declare ‘Drowning Prevention and Awareness Week’

Published: May. 7, 2019 at 6:09 PM CDT
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Lawmakers have declared May 7-14 Drowning Prevention and Awareness week in Texas. Families took to the State Capitol Tuesday morning to share their stories in hopes of ending child drowning.

Sixteen children have died this year from drowning and two of them have happened within the last couple weeks. Families from all across the state want everyone to know that drowning can happen to anybody, but it is preventable.

Posters line the halls inside the State Capitol showing the faces and names of young children who died from drowning. Studies show the leading cause of death for a child under five is drowning, and the parents of those children say they want to create communities who work together to enhance water safety to prevent drowning.

“We can create a safer culture around water safety, create safer behavior around water and end drowning because drowning is preventable," said Alissa Magrum with the Texas Drowning Prevention Alliance.

Magrum says they're also hoping to put water safety education in public schools for young children. She said not just one thing can prevent drowning, but keeping parents educated is the first step.

A Bryan family lost their four-year old daughter, Emma two years ago at a resort in Florida. Now they're taking that tragedy and hoping to save others by sharing their story.

Michael Hojnacki doesn’t have a poster for Emma inside the State Capitol yet, but he’s still sharing his story with legislators. He says most families don’t think an accident like this could happen to them.

"The literature that I've read shows the leading cause of death for a child under 5 is drowning, and it's one of the top four things for a child under the age of 15,” Hojnacki continued. “It's just very impactful what it's done in our life. I don’t want to see another family go through what I've been through."

Hojnacki is starting up a local nonprofit called Emma's Project where he will focus on the resort and hotel community and public pools. He wants to educate others of the dangers of drowning.