Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thursday's Thoughts

It was a very pleasant, sunny and breezy day with the temperature in the low 80's. I took a few photos on the beach near Nerita Street access, off Middle Gulf Drive, early this evening. There were several groups of young children having a great time, swimming and splashing in the water.

As I was walking on the beach, I saw two holes in the sand that made me remember the ones I had seen last week. One of them was about 5 feet deep and another one that was at least three feet deep. They were each about three to four feet across. I heard a person talking, who was obviously the grandfather of a couple of children, probably 3 to 4 years old. The deepest hole was partially in front of the main path, leading from a group of condos to the beach. He was very proud of himself, as he said that he always digs a big hole for the little kids to play in. Said it kept them occupied. That made me cringe and I just had to bite my tongue and leave the beach. As I was leaving, a mother and father were holding the hands of their young children, to get around that deep hole. The dad looked over at me and said, "Wow, that's dangerous!"

I had never seen a hole that deep on the beach here before, and it had only been a couple of days since I had read that more than 24 people have been killed in the U.S. in the last ten years, due to sand holes collapsing on them. That is more deaths by sand than by sharks during that same time frame. If you told that person there was a shark in the water, I feel sure he wouldn't put those young children in to swim with it. I realize that the chances are slim, this could happen, but why take that chance?

Sand holes appear to be stable, but any vibration, like a person walking by, could cause it to collapse. If a sand hole caves in, it only takes seconds to fill. A victim has only minutes to be rescued before they suffocate. One child who died in such an accident, had been under the sand too long when it's mother and grand mother noticed that it had collapsed. Sometimes when a hole collapses, you can hardly tell where it was or know where to look for a victim. A teenage boy was running backwards to catch a football pass when he fell into a hole his friends had dug, causing the sand to cave in. They dug as fast as they could; revived him for a while but he died at the hospital.

I'm sure most parents realize the danger and use all the caution they need to. I don't mean to ruin any one's fun at the beach and I know there is just something about sand that makes kids want to dig, and we give them the pails and shovels to do that with. But, those little shovels aren't digging holes like I am talking about.

Some places do not allow anyone to dig holes in the beach over two feet deep. Never let children get into holes that are deeper than their knees. Be cautious and don't let them play in sand unattended.

Holes that are left open can cause accidents to people who are out walking on the beach at night. Holes or something as simple as sand castles can actually create obstacles and confuse a female sea turtle attempting to nest, or in some instances, death if she falls into a hole dug by a careless visitor. They can also prevent hatchlings from reaching the sea after emerging from their nest. Please, when you leave the beach, just take the time to flatten sand castles, fill in holes, and trenches. If it was fun digging it out, it can be fun putting it back again.

Much better viewed in HD on YouTube, by clicking on screen below.


Secret Mom Thoughts said...

Beautiful beach shots.

busybee2 said...

Tootie: You are 100% correct about those sand holes. I remember reading an article about that very thing many years ago. A kid was playing in a hole in California, it collapsed and the parents couldn't even find the kid until it was too late. Scared the crap out of me when I read it. Who would think? I'm glad you posted your warning.

happyone said...

I can't imagine putting a three year old in a 5 foot hole!! What you say is just common sense!

I saw the shadow couple kissing on the video. :-)

Little Black Scrap Cat said...

It may seem harmless enough to that grandfather on the beach, but you're right. Those holes are an accident waiting to happen. And right near the beach access?? Someone's in for quite a fall. Perhaps you could stop by and check it out...see if anyone filled it in??

Snowbird said...

Holes on the beach scare me. My daughter posted this on her blog a year or so ago. Really, really scary.

earthchick said...

Thank you for spreading the word about this. As someone who almost lost a three year-old because of a sand hole collapse (when he fell in a hole that other children had dug) I know too well the horror of this danger. Thank you so much for trying to raise awareness.