potential beach danger for children - how my son almost died in a sand hole collapse - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 41 Old 07-24-2007, 01:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this post (if not, could someone point me in the right direction?)

My family recently survived a horrifying experience, and I am trying to get the word out in hopes of preventing this kind of accident for others. Earlier this month, we almost lost one of our 3 y.o. sons due to a spontaneous sand hole cave-in. He fell in a hole that some other children had dug and it collapsed on him - burying him completely. Though it happened only 5-6 feet away from me, neither dh nor I realized what had occurred. I was setting up beach chairs while dh watched the boys - I asked dh a question and in the time it took for him to turn his head to me and answer, our son disappeared. For 5 horrifying minutes we searched the water and the beach for my son, thinking the worst. Then a woman (our personal angel, for whom I will be saying prayers of gratitude for the rest of my life) thought to look in the sand, where she noticed an indentation. There he was, buried, sand 8-10 inches over his head. And he ended up totally okay. [You can read the whole saga here on my blog.]

I later learned that this was not the freak accident I thought, but something that has happened to other children, the majority of whom have died from the accident. (the link above includes a link to an article about a doctor who has started compiling a database of this kind of thing) CBS is doing a story on sand hole collapses tomorrow on the Early Show, July 24th, 7:30a.m. [sorry I didn't get over here sooner to let y'all know - things have been a bit nuts], and they interviewed us for it.

I am trying to get the word out as widely as possible that this can happen. It is totally preventable, and I think the more parents know about the potential danger the less likely it is to happen to others.
It is so easy to prevent:
1 - Don't dig holes deeper than waist-height of the shortest person around. The hole my son fell into was not terribly deep. But it was deep enough to swallow him up when it caved in.
2 - If you (or your children) do dig holes, fill them up when you're done. That alone would've prevented our near-tragedy.
3 - When you arrive at the beach, scout out the area you will be setting up in, checking for holes. Teach your children to come tell you if they find holes other have dug, and to not play in or near them.
4 - Keep as sharp an eye on your children on the sand as you would in the water.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I know that what we went through was a rare experience, but because it was needless and totally preventable, I feel like raising awareness of this possibility would make it possible to eliminate this kind of threat entirely.
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#2 of 41 Old 07-24-2007, 02:00 AM
 
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What a terrifying situation. It just makes me sick to my stomach to think about what you must have been going through. I am so glad he's ok. And THANK YOU for bringing some attention to this. I have never heard of this.
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#3 of 41 Old 07-24-2007, 02:33 AM
 
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Sorry to hear about your scary experience. We live near the water and I hadn't heard about anything like this.
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#4 of 41 Old 07-24-2007, 10:18 AM
 
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Earthchick, may I reproduce your post on other forums? I know some appropriate places where parents may be reading.

Leigh, mama to Rostislav homeborn Aug 9 2007, and Oksana homeborn Feb 24 2011.
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#5 of 41 Old 07-24-2007, 10:24 AM
 
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I'm so glad that your son is okay!

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.  ~Albert Einstein
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#6 of 41 Old 07-24-2007, 10:39 AM
 
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I am glad your son is ok. I have heard of this happening before I forget what tv station it was on tho.

 
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#7 of 41 Old 07-24-2007, 10:40 AM
 
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I can imagine how terrified you must have been. I'm glad everything worked out okay.

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#8 of 41 Old 07-24-2007, 11:05 AM
 
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I am so glad your son is ok and thank you for posting this!

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#9 of 41 Old 07-24-2007, 11:09 AM
 
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I'm so glad your little one is okay!
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#10 of 41 Old 07-24-2007, 11:27 AM
 
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There was a story on Dateline or one of those news shows where a 17 year old boy died that way. He fell in head first catching a football, if I recall correctly, and was covered instantly--everyone saw it happen and though his friends tried to get him out, they were unsuccessful. The hole was really deep and this kid was almost 6 feet tall.
I live at the ocean front and the tourists come here and do this ALL the time. I haven't figured out a way to say--hey, that's dangerous, please don't--and I guess they have every right to do so--but I do try to keep my kids away from this type of thing. By the end of the day there are tons of holes all over the place. People don't have the courtesy to fill them up--or pick up their own trash, but that's another story.
Thanks for the information--this is a topic that I think about all the time because of where we live.
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#11 of 41 Old 07-24-2007, 11:33 AM
 
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thank goodness for the woman who thought to look in the sand!

i live in a coastal state and i remember hearing about a guy in his early twenties who died in a sand hole collapse several years ago. i think they're especially dangerous if they have steep walls.

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#12 of 41 Old 07-24-2007, 11:41 AM
 
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just read your blog entry, too, and wanted to say that your words are beautiful. you're a wonderful writer. the panic and fear and relief are all very palpable in your blog. to you and all yours and especially to your little guy.

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#13 of 41 Old 07-24-2007, 12:43 PM
 
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How scary. I am sooooo glad he is ok. I have heard of this, but hadn't given it much thought for some reason, but I now will as we are going to the beach in Sept. Thanks for getting this very important message out.

mama to Joshua (9), Lily (8), Jude (6) and Ava (6)

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#14 of 41 Old 07-24-2007, 12:48 PM
 
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I cringe every time I see kids digging a deep hole in the sand. Next time I go to the beach I will be on the lookout and warn other moms. So glad he is ok. How horrifying.

Let them sleep in the middle, Let them be little
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#15 of 41 Old 07-24-2007, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, y'all, for your kind words. We are incredibly fortunate with how things turned out, esp. since no one witnessed my son falling in (the Early Show correspondent this morning said he crawled in, but we feel pretty sure that was not the case - he himself said he fell in.)

To Lady Lilya, yes! Absolutely feel free to reproduce my post on any other forums. Everyone, please feel free to pass along either this post, or my blog post, or a combination. I feel like the only way to prevent this kind of tragedy is for people to know it can actually happen, so I am eager to get the word out to as many parents as possible.
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#16 of 41 Old 07-24-2007, 01:30 PM
 
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Thank you for posting this. I remember hearing stories like this before, but soo many people don't know that this isn't a freak accident.

There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.
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#17 of 41 Old 07-24-2007, 02:16 PM
 
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I used to work in the office of a construction company, and this is actually the top construction-related accident - when they dig trenches to work in and don't secure the sides and the trenches collapse in.

I'm glad all is well and thank you for posting this warning.
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#18 of 41 Old 07-24-2007, 02:33 PM
 
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Holy crap. I had no idea. Thank you so much for sharing your experience, I'm so glad your ds is okay. I'm off to send out that article to all the mamas I know.
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#19 of 41 Old 07-24-2007, 05:23 PM
 
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I am so glad your son is ok! Thanks for sharing the information, I will remember it for my little cousins and for when I have kids!

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#20 of 41 Old 07-25-2007, 12:32 AM
 
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Wow, I'm so glad your little boy is alive and without brain damage! I had no idea something like that could happen. Thanks for posting this and I'll be telling all my friends!

~lisa~mama to 3 boys (1/02, 5/04, 12/06)
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#21 of 41 Old 07-25-2007, 12:38 AM
 
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I had read about this happening when there was a bulletin sent out with a Dr Mercola newsletter this month. I am so glad that your child is all right. How terrifying.

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#22 of 41 Old 07-25-2007, 12:46 AM
 
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I'm so sorry your family had this terrifying experience.

Keeping busy with 2 boys & 1 girl ('04, '06, '08)
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#23 of 41 Old 07-25-2007, 12:51 AM
 
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I really appreciate you sharing this. I am so glad your son is ok.
I've got several pictures of my son last year at the beach in a sand hole well over his head. I never knew. : Never again. Thank you.

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#24 of 41 Old 07-25-2007, 01:07 AM
 
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Thank god he's ok!

hugs and thanks, mamma!

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#25 of 41 Old 07-25-2007, 11:56 PM
 
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Oh my gosh!!!

to you Stacey!

Experiences like these are truly horrible!!

Thank you ever so much for sharing this information with all of us here at Mothering!!!

I never even thought such a thing could happen.

I will write my friends about this too.

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#26 of 41 Old 07-26-2007, 12:05 AM
 
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Passing the word to everyone I know. I'm so incredibly sorry this happened to you, and so incredibly glad your child is okay.
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#27 of 41 Old 07-26-2007, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank y'all, again, so much for your kind words and thoughts. We arrived home safely last night after 3 weeks of vacation (we spent the time after the beach visiting family). I cried after we got home, so relieved that we are all safe, and hopeful that we can get back to normal now.
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#28 of 41 Old 07-26-2007, 12:16 PM
 
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I am so thankful that your child is ok - what a terrifying experience!

And thanks for the warning - something that most people wouldn't normally realize!
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#29 of 41 Old 07-26-2007, 01:31 PM
 
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yes, thank you very much. My family is vacationing on a beach in three weeks and we have a 12 month old ds. Of course, he will not be out of our sight, but now he may not be out of arms reach.... in fact, I might go get a "leash."
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#30 of 41 Old 07-26-2007, 01:33 PM
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mama! That sounds terrifying! A lot of the beaches around here have signs that say "no digging holes more than XX inches deep", and I always wondered why. I bet this is the reason.
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