Georgia on track for high number of drownings

For the second straight year, Georgia is on track to have a high number of pool and spa drownings – among the highest in the country.

Three children under the age of 15 drowned in a swimming pool or spa during the month of May alone in Georgia, according to media-reported drownings tracked by USA Swimming Foundation. That’s behind California with six and Arizona with five. Through June 1, there have been five pool and hot tub drownings in Georgia.

Swim safety experts urge parents to be vigilant, especially since Georgia’s swimming season stretches over several months.

Last year, 19 children in Georgia died in pools or spas, according to the USA Swimming Foundation. That puts Georgia in the No. 5 spot behind Florida, California, Texas and Arizona.

“No one ever thinks it’s going to happen to their children,” said Nadyne Siegel Brown, owner of SwimKids of Georgia. SwimKids, based in Cumming, offers aquatics survival classes and swim lessons. A key component of their program is learning how to roll on your back and float.

“There has to be layers of protection like an onion because it can happen to the most vigilant parent,” said Brown.

The Pool Safely campaign, launched in 2010 by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, is the largest public education campaign ever, said Scott Wolfson, communications director.

The group oversees more than 10,000 products in and around the home. Drowning prevention is No. 1 in terms of funding and the amount of time dedicated to pool safety, he said.

“The water safety community believes that drowning is 100 percent preventable,” Wolfson said.

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