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CPSC: toddlers at high risk for drowning in summer

Summer is the worst season for drowning incidents as many Georgia residents with a pool or spa can easily imagine. June, which marks the start of summer, is the month with the highest rate of fatal drowning incidents, according to a new report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Drowning is the No. 1 cause of unintentional death among kids aged 1 to 4 here in the United States. The CPSC analyzed drowning incident data from 2014 and 2016 and discovered that there were more than 360 pool- and spa-related incidents in each of those years that involved children under 15. And 74% of those fatalities involved children under 5.

Residential areas are where 72% of "submersion fatalities" occur, according to the same report. Because of this, the CPSC has compiled a set of guidelines specifically for parents and caregivers called the Pool Safely Pledge. The first recommended step is to always designate a "water watcher" over any children near the water.

Parents and caregivers should also know who can swim and who cannot. They should learn CPR in case an incident does occur. Pools should be protected with a fence and covered over when not in use.

If they do not take these precautions, parents may inadvertently cause the death of a child. If it is another's child, parents will likely face the added stress of a potential premises liability lawsuit. All property owners, after all, have a duty of care to lawful entrants. Georgia even holds to the doctrine of an attractive nuisance, which means even trespassing children must be protected from naturally attractive structures like pools and spas. Those who intend to file may want to see a lawyer.

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