Melanie Mitchell, mother of toddler who drowned at Carramar home day care, makes emotional plea for stricter regulations at inquest

THE mother of Lachlan Mitchell who drowned in a pool at a Carramar home day care centre, made an emotional appeal for stricter regulations as the inquest into her son’s death wrapped up on Tuesday.

Speaking outside the Central Law Courts building, Melanie Mitchell (34) said “the biggest thing” she hoped to come out of the inquest was to keep kids safe in day care.

Lachlan was nearly three years old when he drowned after finding a way into a fenced pool enclosure on November 9, 2015.

The WA Coroner’s Court inquest gave no definitive answer as to how the tragedy happened, but Coroner Sarah Linton considered the most likely scenarios were that the gate door had not shut properly or that he climbed in using a pot plant near the fence.

Having listened to a day-and-a-half of testimony into her toddler’s death, Ms Mitchell was firm in her stance that pools at home day care centres should be banned.

Flanked by husband Luke and her father as she spoke to the media, she hoped the family’s willingness to speak on the issue would prompt change.

The parents now have a baby daughter, born in February.

“It was something we decided early on; we could grieve in private or we could do our best to ensure another family doesn’t have to go through what we went through,” she said.

The Mitchells were represented in court by lawyer John Hammond.

Ms Mitchell showed empathy for day care centre operator Karla Zablah, who was caring for Lachlan when he drowned.

Ms Zablah was working under the authority of Communicare.

Ms Zablah was distraught when giving testimony on Monday, admitting inspectors told her she should move pot plants away from the pool fence but she had not done so.

“She’s obviously devastated by what happened,” Ms Mitchell said.

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