An 18-month old toddler who was found with his head submerged in a plastic rubbish bin filled with water has died, police say.
Emergency services were called to a house in Waihi, in Coromandel, shortly after 12pm on Tuesday, after the boy's mother found him in the back yard.
Sergeant Dave Litton says it appears the boy was playing and had been left unattended for a brief time.
He says the boy's mother went to check on him and found him with his head and neck submerged in a plastic rubbish bin, half full of rainwater, by the back door.
Sergeant Litton says the death is every parent's worst nightmare and highlights the dangers with children and need for supervision. He says it was a tragic accident and the parents are not to blame.
Police say the boy's death is not suspicious, and has been referred to the coroner.
Water Safety New Zealand says the death shows the message about watching children near water needs to be directed at new parents.
A total of 38 pre-school children drowned over the past five years. So far this year, eight pre-schoolers have drowned.
Water Safety general manager Matt Claridge says the Waihi incident is very unfortunate but parents need to keep their children away from sources of water.