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Mother's stark warning after toddler drowns in septic pit



A Victorian mother never imagined her three-year-old son would drown after falling into a septic tank while at a family friend's housewarming party earlier this year.

Amanpreet was feeding her seven-month-old baby when her son Nihal went missing on March 19.

After a frantic search, his body was discovered. He had stepped on an unsecured lid of a septic tank and drowned.

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Nihal was found after they witnessed another child's foot getting caught in the cover of the pit.

After opening the lid, they spotted Nihal's jumper in the water.

"I can't count how many times I ran over that septic pit," Amanpreet said.

"I kept shouting, 'No, it's not Nihal. It's just his jumper.'

"But then a man pulled out the jumper, and it was my son.

"We didn't get time to say goodbye."

Three toddlers have died in septic pit incidents in the past 18 months across Australia.

The underground tanks can be found outside older homes or regional properties.

Amanpreet said she initially had a conversation with her son about being safe around the swimming pool, but she was unaware of the danger posed by the septic pit.

"I had never heard of a septic pit before that day. I didn't know what it was," she said.

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Kidsafe Victoria chief executive Melaine Courtney said septic safety "screens" should be mandated across the country.

"It's a very simple mechanism that means if the lid fails the child will not fall through," she said.

"(We are) urging all homeowners that do have a septic pit on their property to check their system, check their lid and make sure it's inaccessible to children."

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