On the farm
If you live on the farm or lifestyle block, or just visiting a rural environment with your child, remember that there are plenty of opportunities for your child to get into mischief in water.
Firstly, look around your environment to identify any potential drowning hazards. Look at areas where your child can access, including nearby properties and public spaces such as parks that are nearby. Once you know what you are facing you can take steps to reduce the risk.
Watch out for:
- Dairy shed run offs
- Effluent ponds
- Water tanks
- Irrigation channels
- Water storage ponds
- Dips and races
- Drinking stations
- Farm ponds and drains.
Firstly, be in the moment with your child. A moment’s inattention can result in disaster so ditch the cell phones and tasks, and devote your whole attention to your child.
Secondly, think about fencing around ponds, creeks, dips, and races especially if they are deep or are located close to the home. Make sure the fencing is not climbable or low enough to stop a child crawling under it.
Remember to drain any vessels that contain water and with regards to water troughs, fence the area where the animals are to protect your child from the water. Cover tanks and wells with child resistant covers or fill in any disused ones.
Walk around the farm with your child and identify water hazards. Talk about how they are dangerous and why they should not go there. Reinforce positive behaviours and always model what you want them to do.
A child play safe zone is a good idea to create. It should be a carefully designated location which is securely fenced to prevent a child from entering the farm or accessing its waterways. If this area includes a pool you must comply with the Building Act.
Below: Tess (left) and Poppy enjoy the farm pond