Parents are being warned of the dangers of water tanks after a 5-year-old boy suffering from autism wandered off and drowned.

A coroner has found Jahmaine Reihana died after climbing into a water tank and drowning in Foxton in September 2014.

The findings said that on the day of the boy's death, his mother had become distracted for a matter of seconds while helping her younger child to eat lunch.

During that brief time, Jahmaine wandered off and climbed into the water tank on the property, where he died.


Coroner Tim Scott said Jahmaine's parents were not at fault of ill-supervising their son.

"I do not think [the boy's mother] can be criticised in any way for turning away for a short period of time to attend the needs of her younger daughter," he said.

"All young children need a lot of supervision and Jahmaine needed more than most but there is no evidence to suggest he did not get that degree of supervision."

Mr Scott warned of the danger of tanks and their appeal to young children.

"It is probably too much to ask that owners destroy and replace them but at the very least owners need to be aware of the problem and modify tanks in some way so that it becomes impossible for a small child to remove the manhole cover," he said.

Jahmaine's autism meant he was very active and, according to his father, had no real concept of fear.

He required a high level of supervision and had a history of running off, which his parents were well aware of. Mr Scott said despite this, Jahmaine's parents could not be expected to watch their son "24 seven, like hawkes".

Following the incident, a police investigation found the tank was at least 10 years old and not common in the area.