The tragic death of eight year old Toromon Toromon in a municipal park in Rotorua has caused Rotorua District Council to review its warning signs, they are also said to be investigating the effectiveness of the fences that surround the geothermal pools in the park gardens.
RDC parks & recreation manager Garry Page said
“while checks had shown most warning signs to be in tact around the park and entrances at the time of the accident, he was immediately arranging for more warning signs to be installed around pool viewing points as additional precautions. The council was also investigating whether different or higher fences would further minimise risks to park users.
Mr Page said it appeared from a witness statement that the boy had climbed over a barrier wall around a small hot pool and somehow fallen into the hot water.
“But we’re not sure at this stage whether higher fences would necessarily deter any determined, active and unsupervised youngster from climbing; but it’s certainly one of the measures we are looking at.”
But aren’t parks supposed to be the playgrounds for determined, active and unsupervised youngsters. Where else are they to supposed to use up their energy and develop physical play skills if not in the local park?
“We’re also conscious that if visibility is reduced as a result of higher fences being installed, human nature dictates that more people will climb these fences to get a better view. It’s a matter of getting the right balance between safety and access.”
A photograph of a barrier wall at the park was displayed on the forum Expatexposed.com, the person who posted it commented on how low it was.
“While most of these locations are publicly accessible it is simply not practical to fence them all as that would be logistically impossible – as it is impossible to fence off other potential water hazards like rivers, lakes and beaches. Hazard awareness, education and effective adult supervision therefore remain the key elements in optimising the safety of youngsters in any potentially dangerous areas.
“We will be seriously looking at any recommendations that may come from these investigations and if there are practical measures we can implement to significantly reduce risks in Kuirau Park, we will act accordingly,” said Mr Page. Source
Mr Page may wish to note that if a child goes into the sea, or falls into a river or lake, he is unlikely to suffer fatal burns to 100% of his body within seconds. What’s more, the child has a reasonably good chance of survival if it is rescued or climbs out.
Mr Page could take a look at how hot pools are fenced in other countries. See Expatexposed for examples, but fencing like that doesn’t come cheap. But how can you put a price on the life of a child?
As yet the press hasn’t used the Freedom of Information Act to find out how many children and adults have required medical attention after coming into contact with thermal pools in the council’s park, which is just opposite the local hospital.
Perhaps this is something that the Coronial inquest will uncover.
See also Child Dies After Rotorua Hot Pool Plunge