Farms contain many drowning hazards. While dams are the most common location for child drowning deaths, troughs, irrigation channels, water tanks, swimming pools, and even rivers and lakes, pose an equally significant risk to children.
Easy access to water and a lack of direct adult supervision by parents or carers are the main factors in child drowning deaths on farms.
While it is not always feasible to fence off large water bodies, there are some simple measures that can make the farm environment as safe as possible.
Active supervision should be a priority at all farm locations. Children must be supervised at all times in, on, or around water on farms.
Child safe play areas can help parents to supervise children but they are not designed to replace active supervision. Child safe play areas restrict a child’s access to water by creating a barrier between the child and a drowning hazard. They are particularly effective in preventing a young child from gaining access to water which cannot be fenced, such as dams on farms. A Keep Watch@The Farm ‘Please Close the Gate’ sign should be placed on the child safe play area to remind people to close the gate. The gate should be self-closing and self-latching and never be propped open.
Fill in any unused holes where water can gather such as ditches, dips and postholes. Water storage such as wells and tanks should be securely covered.
Royal Life Saving's Keep Watch@The Farm initiative is aimed at preventing children aged 0 to 4 years from drowning by getting parents and carers to undertake four simple Keep Watch actions: Supervise, Restrict, Teach and Respond.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get a free Keep Watch@The Farm ‘Please Close the Gate’ sign for your child safe play area.