Thursday, July 26, 2007


Thanks for the complements on my beautiful baby boy. I can't wait to meet him in person and see if I can't get some more of those lovely smiles out of him! We still have no word on travel dates but we are holding out hope that we will hear something by the end of the week.

On a different topic, earthchick had a major scare recently when her son was almost killed in a tragic accident. She is asking everyone to put the word out about the little know risk of playing in the sand.

For five horrifying minutes we searched the water and the beach, with no luck. I knew it was long enough by this point that there was basically no hope of his still being alive (assuming he was in the water). My one hope was that the waves would bring his body back to us, because I could not imagine leaving the beach without him. A young woman who had been helping with the search suddenly noticed a sort of indentation in the ledge of soft sand, just a few feet from our chairs. She asked if it had been there when we arrived. I didn't know. She stuck her hands in and began to dig a bit - and felt his head. She, my husband, and several others started digging and were able to pull him out - alive, and totally okay. Totally okay. I had not been able to watch them dig him up, because I was so afraid he was dead - it had been five minutes or more! - and I could not bear to see his little body brought up dead, and I could not bear for Charlie to see it either. It seemed to take so long for them to dig his head out (probably a minute, though) and then someone called to me - "He's all right!"

What we have been able to piece together in retrospect, based on what Rob has been able to tell us, is that there was a hole there (the woman who discovered him remembered seeing some boys digging a hole in that area not long before we arrived), and that he stepped in it (either accidentally or on purpose, we are not sure - he says he fell in). As soon as he was in it, it caved in (in his words: "I fell in a hole. The sand kept coming in. The hole closed, and it locked. I don't like to be locked.")

At the time, we thought it was a "freak accident," and the hospital personnel certainly treated it as such (after ruling out foul play). Later that night, I googled "buried in sand" to see if anyone else had experienced such a thing. First I found this. Then I googled "buried in sand death" - and I discovered that just two weeks before Rob's accident, a physician in Boston had a letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine about just this thing, sand hole collapses. I was shocked by his findings, which the AP picked up (you can read a summary here).

In answer to the questions I have received about linking to our story. Yes, Yes, Yes. Please do. On your blog, on parenting (or other) boards, in emails to friends and family. I want to get the word out to as many people as possible that this kind of thing - though rare - can happen. I don't want another family to have to go through what we've been through, especially since most cases do not end as happily as ours.

I also want people to know that this kind of thing is totally preventable. It's easy:
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.

I don't mean to be an alarmist. I realize that what happened to us was unusual. But it did happen. And it didn't have to. It takes very little effort to prevent this kind of tragedy.

You can read her full account here.


Sig said...

OMG what a horrible scare. I have heard of this happening to teenagers! ::shiver:: So glad he is OK.

chou-chou said...

OMG that is terrifying. I tell you, the one thing I'm TOTALLY unprepared for about being a parent is the possibility of something bad happening to my kid. I just can't even bear the thought.