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Sand: It's Fun, but It Can Be Deadly

Parents urged to keep a close eye on children

FRIDAY, July 2, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Playing in the sand is a summertime ritual for kids, but researchers warn that kids need to be watched because it can occasionally be dangerous.

Parents need to supervise their children when they're playing in sand at the beach, in the sandbox or anywhere else, says an article in the June issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The article includes two cases where children died after accidentally being buried in sand -- one in a sandbox and another at a construction site. The two boys died from respiratory asphyxia after the sand compressed their chests and lungs.

One boy was digging a tunnel in his sandbox when the tunnel collapsed on him. The other boy died after he was buried by a 30-foot pile of sand at a construction site.

The article urges health-care professionals to actively warn parents and children about the potential dangers of playing in sand, and recommends that parents always supervise their children playing in sand.

"Greater awareness by public health and safety officials at beaches, sandboxes, sandpiles, and natural play areas may prevent potentially lethal accidents," the authors wrote.

More information

The American College of Emergency Physicians has advice about beach safety.

SOURCE: Mayo Clinic, news release, June 2004
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