Be Child Safe

Child Safety

For Safety’s Sake


Thinking about safety this week because over the weekend there were many… not several… but many… tragedies. Some could not be avoided, but many could have been. I’d like readers to know that there has been a purposeful respite in my writing for this blog during the past nine months, I have only posted the safety recalls, because I wanted to rethink how to get the message across better to parents of young children especially. Do they really read this, I wondered? Does it help them? Or am I simply haranguing into space? But some real tragedies involving safety and especially water safety occurred over this past weekend that have spurred me to make an effort to get the word out in a more timely manner, louder and more frequently. Child water safety is why I began this blog in the first place.

A word or two about roiling flood waters. Those who paid attention to TV news over this Memorial Day Weekend learned about a National Guardsman, a hero, who in trying to help a woman locate her cat, lost his life in the flash flood in Ellicott City, Maryland. There are others who were stranded in their car on a bridge–I don’t know the outcome of their predicament. Those were situations which perhaps could not have been avoided. But one take-away from the flash flood situation is that if you see roiling waters ahead of you when driving in your car, turn back, back up, but do not drive through the the water. There may be nothing below that water, there could easily be a sinkhole beneath the water, the underlying road may already have washed away. There could be debris carried by the water that could hurt you, including tree branches, downed power lines, etc.

Next, beach water safety is on the forefront. Beach weather is here! Especially with impending storms, rip tides become stronger and unpredictable even in the shallows. Accidents involving water happen quickly. Again, rushing water currents and big waves can carry floating debris with them and children and adults can be hurt by debris, branches, floating decking, logs, even floating beer cans–and by big waves!

“Stay away from the Bay on a stormy day!”, one farmer at the Chesapeake Bay told me years ago. If it looks like it’s going to storm any second, no one has any business out on the beach, in a boat or in the water. Storms come fast on big bodies of water, like the Ocean or the Bay. Respect darkening clouds…and lightning! So if you are in a boat with your family and it begins to look like a storm is building, get to shore as quickly as possible. Don’t hesitate! Take shelter! There was a fantastic photo that went viral this weekend of a lifeguard stand on an ocean beach being hit by a bolt of lightning and very fortunately, it was unoccupied!… Lightning frequently strikes the tallest point available… Don’t hide under a tree or under the lifeguard stand! Get off the beach, off the water, and out of the pool if it looks like a storm! If you do these simple things, a tragedy can be avoided. Don’t think it can’t happen to you, it can. And then someone may have to lose their life trying to save yours or your family’s. Think about it, please.

Author: Marianne Halterman

Marianne is a member of the SafeKids Coalition of the Central Shenandoah Valley.

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