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Mom credits swim lessons for helping save 3-year-old son's life

Shakila Lewis enrolled B.J. in swim lessons last year, and she believes what he learned may have saved his life.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A mother wants to issue a warning for parents as we move closer to the Memorial Day weekend. Shakila Lewis said her 3-year-old son, B.J. is recovering from a pool accident. 

Lewis enrolled B.J. in swim lessons last year, and she believes what he learned may have saved his life.

She recalled Super Bowl Sunday. Lewis said B.J. was spending time with his grandmother. She had put him down for a nap.

“B.J. ended up getting outside. Playing with the dog and playing with his toys. Eventually, he saw that blue water and was just ready to jump in,” said Lewis. “He swam for about 3 minutes.”

Lewis remembers the call she had gotten about the emergency. She said the toddler’s uncle found him and rushed him to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.

“What I didn’t know is B.J. had already coded,” said Lewis. 

“I just kept saying: God, you are in control! You are in control,” said Lewis. “I see B.J. laying on the table. It’s been a long three months.”

Lewis and B.J. have spent time in therapy, with specialists in Baltimore at Kennedy Krieger Institute.

“B.J. has probably gained more weight during this time than he has ever gained. Oh, my goodness. He is such a chunky little fella,” said Lewis.

She hopes her testimony will save others.

“I’ve told families: I will help pay for your baby to get swim lessons,” said Lewis.   

“It only takes a few seconds. It only takes a few seconds for someone to go underwater,” said Kym Finch. 

Finch taught B.J. how to swim through her program, Swim with Kym.  

“Studies show that year-round swim lessons reduce drowning by 88 percent,” said Finch.  

“B.J. is alive, so there’s no reason for us to be crying and mourning because B.J. is alive,” said Lewis.

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