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Coroner Calls For Fences Around Garden Swimming Pools After Toddler Tragedy

16/04/2015 15:12 | Updated 16 June 2015

Coroner calls for fences around garden swimming pools after toddler tragedy

A coroner has called for a law forcing parents to fence off their swimming pools after a three-year-old boy drowned at the bottom of this family's pool.

'Adventurous' toddler Jack Rowe died on his third birthday when he slipped into their swimming pool as he tried to retrieve his favourite toy, a colourful toy broom.

He was found at the bottom of the pool - built into the back garden patio at the family home in the village of Upavon, Wiltshire - an hour after he went missing.

Dr Claire Balysz, assistant coroner for Wiltshire and Swindon, told the inquest she intends to write to Edward Timpson MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Families and Children.

Along with Jack's family, she will ask him to implement similar fencing laws to Australia where families must install child barriers.

The court heard that the tragedy unfolded on July 9 last year when Jack was being looked after by his older brother Harry, 20.

Harry went to use the bathroom as Jack watched a Peppa Pig DVD but when he returned his little brother was missing.

Coroner calls for fences around garden swimming pools after toddler tragedy

Harry raised the alarm with his stepmother Olivia, who then called police.

There were screams from friends when young Jack was found face down at the bottom of the pool at 7pm.

Despite desperate attempts to keep him alive, Jack passed away in the early hours the following morning after being airlifted to Southampton General Hospital, Hampshire.

Dr Balysz said: "I think he was an adventurous little boy and when his DVD of Peppa Pig finished he decided to take himself off outside. I think he fell into the swimming pool and he may have been reaching for his toy.

"Children do run off the whole time and I think it's very unfortunate and a tragic accident what happened to Jack. There was no fence surrounding the swimming pool."

Recording a verdict of accidental death, she continued: "In Australia their swimming pools are supported by child resistant barriers.

"I'm going to write to Edward Timpson MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families to look at getting something like this introduced in Britain.

"I know it's too late and it won't bring Jack back but if something can be changed as a result of this at least something positive can come out of it."

Jack's father Nigel, 51, said he and his wife Olivia, 39, are now also campaigning for safer laws in memory of Jack.

Describing his 'wonderful' son, Mr Rowe told how they have set up the Jack Rabbit Foundation - named after his late son's nickname.

The charity is raising awareness of survival swimming lessons for children and the money raised will fund such causes.

Mr Rowe said: "Jack has gone and we loved him - and we still love him now. But we still see ourselves as very lucky because a, to have had him, b, because he was just so wonderful for three years and c, we are lucky enough to still have Ella, Harry and Laurence.

"We have difficult moments but we can look at ourselves being lucky and being unlucky but our lives go on and Jack was the unlucky one, not us.

"He was so safe with the pool and it created a degree of complacency and that is something we will always have to live with but that is hopefully all going to change."

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