Ponds can look lovely, with neat little reeds growing tall, a few fish swimming around and perhaps a water lily decorating the middle, but, as the parents of the toddler who recently drowned in a garden pond in Cumbria tragically found out, they are also very dangerous for toddlers and young children.
The 23 month old child was discovered by his mother early evening just a few weeks ago. Despite calling for help and being rushed to the local hospital, the little one didn't pull through. He drowned in the pond in the family garden.
Earlier this year, another 2 year old was found drowned in his garden pond in Bristol. In this case, the mother was arrested on suspicion of child neglect, although she was released on police bail.
Every year on average, about ten toddlers and children die in garden ponds. It is tragic and it is an avoidable disaster.
Needless to say, no matter how pretty your pond, none is worth the loss of life, the anguish of the parents, friends and family who will never be able to change the course of events and bring their little children back.
Children and toddlers whether crawling or walking or running move fast. One moment they are there, the next they have scuttled off. That is the nature of children.
Don't bother with fencing, or raising a little wall around the water, or carefully explaining to the kids not to go near the water. Just fill it in, turn it into a sandpit even! It simply isn't worth it!
Coroner Andrew Haigh has called for a ban on looped cords for blinds and curtains having held two inquests for two toddlers who died having been caught up in such cords. His call comes almost a year to the day after a Scottish sheriff also called for such a ban following another toddler' death. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) report that between one or two children are killed each year by looped blind cords. Such blind and curtain mechanisms have long been banned in the USA, Australia and Canada, and it's time they were removed from sale in the UK too.
If you have looped curtain or blind cords in your home, make them safe for children. Follow advice from the British Blind and Shutter Association who publish a leaflet on how to make blinds safe. Their advice includes:-
If you are fitting new blinds, then look for mechanisms that do not require a looped chain or cord, such as pull wands, spring operated roller blinds, concealed or geared mechanisms with a wand that twists to operate the blind. You may be able to cut looped curtain cord and tie a pull handle to each end, removing the loop which is the main cause of strangulation in young children.
Our houses generally offer a safe environment for young children, but a sales ban on looped cords and chains for blinds and curtains could save one or two little lives every year.
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