EAST BRUNSWICK — This township's mayor wants to provide adults and children with free swim lessons after a 4-year-old boy on the Fourth of July became the municipality's fifth drowning victim this year.

The boy drowned during a kindergarten graduation pool party in an in-ground pool at a home on Sandalwood Drive around 5:10 p.m., according to police. He was pulled out and the homeowner performed CPR before EMTs arrived.

The boy was pronounced dead Sunday morning at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

Police said the incident was not considered suspicious.

Mayor Brad Cohen said he would like to prevent another water tragedy.

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"Our goal right now would be to try to do what we can to prevent these type of accidents from occurring, which can happen anywhere," Cohen told New Jersey 101.5. "We just happen to have a slew of them in a short period of time. It can happen in any town. The water in East Brunswick isn't any different from the water anywhere else.

Cohen said the township will put together a plan for a free program learn to swim program for adults and children alike.

"The immediate goal is to try and get some kind of educational programs out there for those who don't know how to swim. We can give them the skills they need to help this from happening again," Cohen said.

The mayor hopes that other towns would also consider introducing a similar program because drownings can happen in any town.

On June 22, 62-year-old Bharat Patel, his 33-year-old daughter-in-law Nisha Patel and her 8-year-old daughter, drowned in an above-ground pool in the backyard of a house they had just moved into. In January, 13-year-old Yousef Khela fell through the ice of a pond on the grounds of the municipal complex.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Pool Safely website offers these basic safety tips for pool owners.

  • Never leave a child unattended in or near water.
  • Teach children how to swim.
  • Teach children to stay away from drains.
  • Ensure all pools and spas - both in your backyard and any public pool you may visit - have compliant drain covers.
  • Install proper barriers, covers and alarms on and around your pool and spa.
  • Know how to perform CPR on children and adults.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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