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No fence at pool where toddler drowned at Herbert property

January 9, 2024
Pool Inspections

THE spa and pool where a toddler drowned in Darwin’s rural area on Saturday was ­unfenced. The three-year-old boy was pulled from the water after midday by frantic relatives, who spent 20 minutes on the phone with emergency medical dispatchers being talked through CPR.While the family was too grief-stricken to speak yesterday, a connection to the little boy said he was a normal fun-loving kid who especially loved Spider-Man. The NT News understands the Herbert home in Darwin’s rural area where the boy died was not his usual residence. The Swimming Pool Safety Act, which requires a barrier around swimming pools and spas, only applies to properties smaller than 1.8ha. The size of the property where the boy drowned is unknown.

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St John Ambulance officer Craig Garraway said the loss of life was a tragedy, and brought to the surface a near-miss in his own life. “It is called the silent death. You can’t be watching everything all the time,” he said.

“I had an experience myself where I nearly lost a four-year-old – it is that quick. The parents will be blaming themselves … it is a horrible thing.” It comes as another three-year-old boy was pulled unconscious from a backyard pool in Sydney’s south yesterday.

Paramedics worked frantically on the boy before he was transported from the Riverwood home to Sydney Children’s Hospital. On average, one child drowns in Australia every week. In the Territory, which regularly has the worst per capita drowning rate in the country, 10 children have drowned since 2011, some in seemingly safe backyard pools. To prevent toddler drownings, the Royal Life Saving Society recommends, above all, active adult supervision. The adult should be within arm’s reach of the child and the pool fence should be correctly installed and closed.

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