Coroner’s warning about garden ponds after toddler’s ‘tragic’ accident

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  • Parents and grandparents urged to ‘think outside the box’ around safety over garden ponds

A coroner is advising people to “think outside the box” when it comes to garden ponds after a toddler’s fatal accident in Gosberton Risegate.

Paul Cooper, Senior Coroner for South Lincolnshire, described the death of 19-month-old Jenson Whitmore, three days after falling into a pond at his grandparents’ home in Gosberton Risegate on Sunday, July 10, as “terrible and tragic”.

Jenson, who lived with his parents in Peterborough, was visiting his grandparents’ house when he fell into the pond unsupervised.

He was eventually found face down in the pond by his father and grandfather who both carried out emergency first aid before the youngster was taken to Pilgrim Hospital, Boston.

He was then transferred to Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, where he was kept in intensive care while medical staff carried out tests at the hospital.

Jenson was found to have suffered a brain injury due to a lack of oxygen and he eventually passed away on Wednesday, July 13.

Whilst I emphasise that I am not attributing any blame to family members, I do make a general observation for the public to exercise great care in relation to any garden ponds

Paul Cooper, Senior Coroner for South Lincolnshire

Recording a verdict of death by accident, Mr Cooper said: “No one was to blame for this accident.

“It was terrible, tragic and the family are still coming to terms with it.

“Whilst I emphasise that I am not attributing any blame to family members, I do make a general observation for the public to exercise great care in relation to any garden ponds.

“Think outside the box and ask yourself ‘could this be a danger to your child?’”.

Figures from The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) showed that, on average, five children under the age of six drown in garden ponds every year in the UK.

David Walker of RoSPA said: “Children under the age of six are most vulnerable to drowning in the home and garden as they are naturally inquisitive and are therefore drawn to water.

“But at this age, they cannot get themselves out of trouble if they fall into water.

“However, once they reach the age of six, this vulnerability disappears, so any changes to garden ponds need only be temporary.”