Fort Myers parents advocate for water safety after child’s near-drowning

Reporter: Tiffany Rizzo Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:

Former Noticias WINK anchor Juan Carlos Hómez and his wife Jamie Hoover became advocates for Water Safety Month after their son nearly drowned in a community pool at 3 years old.

After their daughter saw little Luis at the bottom of the pool in March 2022, Hoover and a friend pulled him out of the water and began CPR. It took around five cycles of chest compressions before he ended up taking his first breath; two minutes that felt like a lifetime.

Luis is doing well now and surprisingly isn’t afraid of the water. His parents are having him continue to master his swimming skills. Luis was already taking lessons the summer before his near-drowning, and surveillance footage from the pool shows that he tried to use the skills he had been learning.

“He did try to do all of the tactics that he had learned there—you know, ‘belly up, float, try to reach’—and it just wasn’t enough,” Hoover said. “He hadn’t mastered those skills yet.”

“My most difficult and intense day of my life,” Hómez said. “All these minutes that feel like years. And I was since then thinking about the meaning of that day. I would title it, maybe, ‘the day tragedy knocks [on] our doors.’ Obviously, the door was not open because CPR was very effective.”

The main message from Luis’ parents and all water safety advocates: You need to designate a person to watch children when they’re swimming.

“Was hard to see a mom giving CPR to her own son to save his life, because the moment we saw our son out of the water, you have no idea if he’s alive,” Hómez said.

“It’s also an individual role and responsibility that we don’t necessarily have to be scared of,” Hoover said. “You feel empowered, you feel encouraged to be able to take on that ownership and be a contributor to a safer community.”

This is especially important this time of year; in one month, kids will be out of school and in the pool a lot more.

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