ABU DHABI // The deaths of three Emirati youngsters in Al Ain this week prompted calls from parents and experts to be mindful of where their children are and to ensure they are safe.
Three children from two related families died on Wednesday after falling into a well at one of the family homes.
A fourth child, aged 4, was rescued and taken to Al Ain Hospital after the incident in Al Nayfa, Hili.
The bodies of the three children were taken to the hospital morgue.
The children were playing near the well when its wooden lid covering collapsed, an Abu Dhabi Police officer said. A five-year-old girl and two boys – aged 4 and 5 – drowned.
Maj Mohammed Al Blushi, director of emergencies and safety in Al Ain, said a search-and-rescue team was sent to the scene as soon as a report was received but it was too late for three of the children.
An investigation into the incident is under way, reported The National’s Arabic-language sister newspaper, Aletihad.
On Thursday, a police officer urged parents and guardians to look after children when they are outside.
“Well holes should be properly covered with sturdy material to prevent such unfortunate incidents,” he said.
Rema Menon, founder of Counselling Point in Dubai, encouraged parents to exercise close supervision and to know the pitfalls and dangers involved, whether it is a swimming pool, a stream or a well.
Dr Reem Al Ameria, a child passenger safety technician and instructor, said parents should assess any play area or environment where their children are present, and try to child-proof the area.
“It could be that someone had been monitoring them, but the actual child-proofing part is essential,” she said.
“There should be protective tools – whether it’s inside your house or your playground – to prevent such incidents from happening.”
Dr Al Ameria said: “I feel so sorry for the parents. It’s such a tragic and sad incident. There are multiple places where things could go wrong. The safest thing to do is to be watching them and child-proofing to make the environment safer for our children.”
A similar incident occurred three years ago when a seven-year-old Emirati in Ras Al Khaimah drowned in a deep pit filled with rainwater.
The girl was playing with siblings and friends around the well when they found the fence door unlocked and went in to play in the water.
She was dead when her body was pulled out of the pit.