STAY VIGILANT: Police have issued a message to parents to supervise their children around open bodies of water following Ruby Gulliver’s tragic death on March 8. Picture: Facebook
STAY VIGILANT: Police have issued a message to parents to supervise their children around open bodies of water following Ruby Gulliver’s tragic death on March 8. Picture: Facebook

Toddler’s drowning prompts water warning from police

Dalby's acting inspector has called for parents to be vigilant with children around open bodies of water, after the heartbreaking death of toddler Ruby Gulliver.

The two-year-old girl's body was tragically discovered submerged in a rural dam on a Tara property on March 9, only 70m from her home.

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A large scale search of the 1500 hectare property preceded this, when she was declared missing about 3pm on March 8.

Ruby Gulliver was found submerged in a dam just 70m from the homestead of the large property. Picture: Facebook
Ruby Gulliver was found submerged in a dam just 70m from the homestead of the large property. Picture: Facebook

Friends and family were joined by concerned community members, Origin Gas workers, SES volunteers, and other emergency volunteer organisations.

PolAir, police dogs and an ADF helicopter joined the search later that evening, with the dive squad attending from Brisbane to search the dam.

Her body was found in the water about 1am the following morning.

Acting inspector Terry McCullough said this death prompted police to issue a message to parents supervising near open water.

"There's always a great concern with a child so young going missing in a rural scrub area, where there are bodies of water like those farm dams," inspector McCullough said.

"This is a really tragic thing, and unfortunately it's not the first time it's happened.

"We would urge people where there are bodies of water that aren't secured to be extra vigilant with small children."

Western Downs toddler Ruby Gulliver. Picture: Contributed
Western Downs toddler Ruby Gulliver. Picture: Contributed

In a report conducted by the Queensland Family and Child Commision, an average of ten children under the age of five drown in Queensland each year.

Their statistics showed pools weren't the only risk, with 19 per cent of drownings occurring in bath tubs, and 17 per cent in rural water hazards such as dams and water troughs.

QAS acting director of clinical quality and patient safety Lachlan Parker spoke with the Courier Mail, and urged parents and family not be complacent around water.

"We have seen an alarming increase in near drowning incidents in Queensland, [and] most of these near drownings are preventable," Mr Parker said.

"The statistics are very clear that the vast majority of drownings or near drownings occur in backyard pools, and for toddlers or young children aged 0-4, near drownings are one of the highest leading causes of death in that age group."

Queensland was rocked earlier this year following the shock death of a seven month old baby in Murgon on February 13, where it's alleged the child was left alone in a makeshift bath in the laundry sink.

A little girl was then fighting for her life on December 20, 2020, after she was found submerged in water at an Arana Hills home.

She was transported to Queensland Children's Hospital in a critical condition.

Ruby Gulliver's family have created a fundraising campaign for the toddler's funeral following her tragic death.

A report will be prepared for the coroner.

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