Peggy Sanders: Confluence Chronicles – Where City & County Meet 7-25-11
After reading an article in Readers’ Digest this week, it really made me stop and think. The story was about how a person truly acts when he is drowning. According to the piece, people don’t flail and yell, they don’t have the breath for it. They can’t wave or signal, and the head is likely low in the water, with the mouth at the same level as the water. The person sinks below the water, comes up and sinks again, but does not resurface. Twenty to 60 seconds is all it takes. Scary, isn’t it? Water and kids especially only mix well when very close attention is paid by their caretakers.
When my niece was three and on a water setting irrigation excursion with her dad, she fell into a dirt ditch containing water 18-inches deep. Her dad was right there, setting water and saw it all. He said she just relaxed, face down in the water and would have drowned had he not been there to pull her out. She didn’t know about face floating, she just did it.
Five gallon buckets come with warnings on them now, showing a kid falling in face first and the possibility of drowning. At first glance it seemed silly, but knowing how easily and quickly drowning can happen, it may be a wise warning. Once a child falls forward and his feet leave the ground, he would be at the mercy of gravity. If there was water in the bucket, it could be all over.
Tall corn fields are another concern on the farm during summer. Just this week there was a 2-year-old toddler lost for 10 hours, including overnight, in an eastern South Dakota corn field. He had been with his dad, looking at the field, and in an instant the boy disappeared.
Bear in mind that the corn is now 8 to 10-feet high and fields in that area are generally huge. The density of the rows and closeness of the stalks and leaves do not allow sound to travel very well, especially from a small person who is less than 30-inches tall. Even though searchers looked all night, they had no luck. After much calling through a loud speaker, he did respond in the morning and later walked out of the field.
On a crop rotation basis, periodically the field right in front of our older son’s house is planted to corn. This is one such year. He has instructed the children to not go into the corn field without an adult, as they could get lost. The 5-year-old boy replied, “I wouldn’t get lost. I’d have my flashlight.”
It is an awesome task to try and keep kids safe, watching them carefully, yet allowing them to experience life and gain confidence. Just be careful and aware of your surroundings as you work and play with your children.
Peggy writes from the family ranch when she’s not on the road with kids to swimming lessons, helping move machinery or taking meals to the field. She welcomes comments and stories through Peggy@PeggySanders.com.