Teen Almost Drowns After Sand Burial and other Child Safety Nightmares

While reading the local newspaper this week I ran across several issues involving child safety that I thought were important to address.

The first story comes from Bald Head Island, North Carolina. A teen buried in the sand at the beach nearly drowned when the tide came in. Apparently friends of the teen, 16, who hailed from New Jersey, had buried him and then left him there, below the tide line. By standers worked to free the teen, digging with shovels, or to save him from the encroaching water, via makeshift sand walls, until public safety officials could rescue him. One bystander even found a snorkel for the boy to wear so that he could breathe as the water closed over him.

“He almost died,” said Chief Chip Munna of the Village of Bald Head Island Department of Public Safety. “He was buried so much they thought they were going to break his legs,” Munna said.

The boy was terrified after the ordeal, but essentially unharmed. Though, Munna said, the snorkel saved his life. Also, bystanders did not call 911 until about 20 minutes after trying to dig him out. Munna warned that wet sand causes suction, and nobody should ever be buried in the sand below the beach’s tide line.

The dangers of something that seems like innocent fun – burying people in the sand – aren’t always apparent. Be safe out there on those Labor Day weekend vacations.

Closer to home, in Paulding County, Georgia, two nine-year-old boys were struck by a car when they attempted to run across Georgia Highway 61. No charges were filed against the driver of the car, who according to Georgia State Patrol Lt. Paul Cosper, “did nothing wrong.” Cosper said both the boys were merely “banged up” and both were transferred to the hospital for evaluation.

There was no word from the Georgia State Patrol about why the boys were attempting to cross a highway. Always instruct young children to look both ways when crossing and never attempt to cross a street unsupervised until you give them permission.

The preceding two accidents could have been a lot worse. Sadly, one Hall County teen was not so lucky. A sixteen-year-old Gainesville girl died from injuries she received in a four car crash last week. Alesha Mote was one of seven people injured when a truck crossed the yellow line on Browns Bridge Road and struck a Ford Escort.

No charges have yet been filed against Jason Greer, 33, the driver of the truck, but according to police when he struck the Escort, his truck then rolled over, hitting a minivan. Debris from that crash hit another car, injuring its 18-year-old driver.

Mote and her parents were passengers in the Escort. Her parents were also injured in the accident.

Sadly, I read about cases just like these every week, and see more of them in my practice. Parents, take care of your teens and young children this weekend like their lives depend on it.