ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Shocking numbers of toddler-involved shootings in 2016 have police urging gun owners to keep their weapons out of reach of children.
The Washington Post reports there have been 23 cases where a toddler has shot themselves or someone else since the beginning of the year. That's an increase from 2015 when only 18 had been reported in the same time frame.
Georgia is a hot spot with at least eight toddler-involved shootings since January 2015.
Groups like Everytown for Gun Safety say these shootings are highly preventable, including the 84 accidental shootings they report have occurred so far in 2016 by children 18 and younger.
Dougherty County police advise parents to keep their guns unloaded when they're not in use, store them in a safe or a secured gun case, and keep them out of reach and out of sight of children. They also encourage parents talk to children about firearms.
"Teach their kids about the potential dangers of weapons, and teach their kids if you find a weapon contact your parent or an adult as soon as possible and don't touch the weapon and you know, just stay safe," said Dougherty County Ofc. Jercory McCray.
Gun locks are also available at most police departments or sheriff's offices. They fit most firearms and will prevent a child from being able to fire the gun.