Toddlers at risk of drowning in rainwater tanks

August 21st, 2008 - 11:38 am ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Aug 21 (IANS) An increase in household rainwater tanks, necessitated by severe drought and water restrictions, is posing a drowning risk for toddlers. Paediatric forensic pathologist Roger Byard of Adeliade University said that in recent years, several drowning incidents were recorded. “In each case, the children fell through the access cover of the rainwater tank and drowned within minutes,” he said.

“Young children are insatiably curious and enjoy exploring their environment. Their lack of appreciation of any danger, compounded by their inability to swim and their failure to call out for help can be a recipe for disaster,” Byard warned.

“As rainwater tanks are now becoming more common, the risk of accidents involving children will inevitably increase. It is crucial that we highlight the potential dangers for young children and ensure the tanks are properly secured.”

Byard pointed out that ladders and other access points - including trees, shrubs, timber and trellises - should not be left next to rainwater tanks, and secure childproof lids need to be installed.

The paper has been published in this month’s Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine.

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