A dam is not a swimming pool

REGION - Southern Rural Water is reminding all landowners in the district to ensure the safety of children and visitors around dams this summer.

On average five to six children drown in farm dams and water bodies each year in Australia. Most are under five years of age, and one third are visitors to the farm.

"Swimming in dams and drains can be particularly dangerous, because they are often deep, and have slippery edges," said general manager groundwater and rivers, Craig Parker.

"And after a reasonable spring, many dams are full or at least partly full.

"We urge everyone - not only parents of children, but also farm managers, workers and visitors - to be extra careful around dams this summer.

"A dam is not a swimming pool."

Southern Rural Water has more than 3000 dams registered across the southern half of Victoria, and estimates there are thousands more smaller domestic and stock dams on farms and properties.

Farmsafe Australia says drowning accounts for around 35-40 per cent of all child farm deaths, with farm dams being by far the most common site and children under five years at greatest risk.

Its research indicates that on average, only one in two farms have a fenced house yard secure enough to prevent a young child under five years wandering off without the help of an adult.

It has a resource kit available online with ideas for creating a safe play area, including:

Secure fencing

Have interesting play items available, like balls and sand pits

Covering other water hazards near the house like troughs and old tanks

For more information, please contact Southern Rural Water on 1300 139 510 or visit www.farmsafe.org.au.-

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