While Digging a Hole Kids Can be Buried: Lifeguards

A three-by-three foot sand hole weighs about 2,700 pounds

Encinitas lifeguards showed how easily a child can be buried by sand while digging a hole at the beach in a demonstration at Moonlight Beach Tuesday morning.

Lifeguards and firefighters dug three giant holes and put life-size mannequins in each of them. It took several minutes to dig the dummies out after they dumped sand on top of them to show what would happen if the hole had collapsed.

“The first thing you want to do is dig out that airway to the head so that person can breathe,” Larry Giles, Marine Safety Captain for the City of Encinitas, said.

Sand can weigh 100 pounds per cubic foot, and a three by three foot hole weighs about 2,700 pounds, according to lifeguards.

On June 16th a 10-year-old boy was digging in the sand at a beach in Cardiff when the hole collapsed on him, covering his entire body.

His father and bystanders called 911 and were able to get the sand away from his head. After first responders arrived the boy was completely dug out.

“He inhaled some sand. He was taken to the Children’s Hospital and he recovered,” Giles said.

It took 15 people 2 minutes to get the boy out, he explained, but would have taken one person a half hour of digging.

“Be aware when they start digging these holes too deep they become a situation for sand entrapment," he explained. 

He said parents should have children use plastic shovels instead of real ones, and they should make sure holes are not deep enough to bury a toddler. 

He explained sand collapses happen often, and with the 4th of July and beach weather here, more children will be digging in the sand.

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