six years, four tips, one giveaway :: celebration of a rescue

Six years ago today, we almost lost our then-3 year-old son in a sand hole collapse at Santa Rosa Beach, in Florida. He fell into a hole dug by other children, and the sand collapsed on top of him, burying him completely, with his head at least 8 inches under the surface. Miraculously, he survived. You can read the full story here , with follow-up here . And read about it from the amazing perspective of Erika Wieland, the woman who saved his life, here .

Our little lion and his twin brother are now 9 years old. They both remember the accident, and speak about it freely. None of us takes for granted the gift we were given that day at the beach.

After our accident, I learned that sandhole collapses are a more frequent occurrence than I would’ve dreamed, and that the majority of them end in death. There are four easy things you can do to prevent such a tragedy:
1. When you arrive at the beach, always check nearby for any holes left by others, and fill them in.
2. Do not dig holes any deeper than knee-high of the shortest person in your group. Yeah, I know this sounds extreme. If this feels more extreme than your group can accommodate then perhaps you can at least stop at waist-high.
3. If you do dig holes, fill them in before you leave. The hole my son fell in had been left by other children.
4. Make sure any children you go to the beach with know that holes and trenches can be dangerous, and that they should let you know if they see any abandoned holes.

Every year, as part of my celebration of getting our baby back, I post about our experience, in hopes of raising awareness of this entirely preventable sort of accident. Every summer these accidents continue to happen. I believe that with more awareness of the risks, such tragedy could be avoided.

My internet friends have been a huge part of helping me raise awareness. Will you help me spread the word again this year?

I always like to give a little something away as part of my celebration of this amazing anniversary. I don’t yet know what it will be this year – possibly yarn, possibly handspun, or possibly something handknit. I will surprise you! It will be something I pick out and send you later this summer (after my travels are done).

All you have to do to enter the giveaway is spread the word about the risk of sandhole collapse and what to do to prevent these kinds of accidents. Spread the word however you’d like – on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, your own blog, word-of-mouth, or all of the above). If you spread the word online, you can link back to this page (or to one of the previous posts I linked to above). Then come back here (or on my link to this post on Facebook) and leave a comment, letting me know you’ve passed it on, and I’ll enter you into the drawing. I will draw a random winner next Monday, July 15, after 5:00pm EST.

Thanks, good people of the internet, for celebrating with me, and for helping me spread the word about this.
our family :: five years ago
July 9, 2007 – the night after the accident

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for spreading the word about this! I am closing the comments and will do a drawing for the giveaway SOON!!!

73 thoughts on “six years, four tips, one giveaway :: celebration of a rescue

  1. shared your story on facebook. so glad rob was safe. i hope more people follow these tips to prevent any other accidents! xo to you!

  2. I shared! I share this story via word of mouth all of the time, Stacey. Thank you so much for the reminders. Happy Rescue Anniversary!

  3. Stacey, I think of Rob every time we go to the beach, and share your story often. I am so grateful that Rob was saved.

  4. I shared the link and your family’s incredible miracle on FB. Thank you for continuing to make others aware of this danger, its certainly new to me!

  5. Every year I read this and am moved by how awesome and lucky and blessed you all were to have your son survive this seemingly innocent and beach-going rite of passage. I’ve definitely shared this tale over the years, and it seldom falls on deaf ears. ❤

  6. SO MUCH LOVE TO YOU, MAMA! I read this and cry every year. Happily shared on fb. I know that people are ALWAYS surprised to hear this story. Thanks for working so hard to keep all of our children safe. XO

  7. Facebooked. HOpefully I’ll get a blog post up too. As a new Mom, I am starting to realize the terror that you must have felt. So glad we get to see pictures of BOTH your babies.

  8. Stacey, thank you so much for continuing to keep your family’s story shared every year, in hopes of preventing similar accidents. I live on the west coast, and have shared your story with all of my FB friends.

  9. Shared on Facebook and Pinterest. Thank you for sharing your story and urging others to share it.

  10. Shared this on FB. Thankful for your miracle and glad he’s doing great! I never realized how dangerous sand holes could be, so I’m definitely going to spread the word. Blessings to you all your family!

  11. Wow, I shared your story on my FB Page! It is really important to know these things can happen, especially for those of us who only go to the beach only once a year, or so. So thankful for your miracle!!!

    I am a seamstress, with an interest in knitting, so I am doubly glad that I found your BLOG!!!!

  12. I remember your original post–can it really have been 6 years ago?!? I posted the story to my Facebook page today and will watch my own almost-three-year-old boy like a hawk.

  13. I have never heard of this happening. I’m so glad you shared this information. I shared it on facebook as well! Thank you for thinking of the safety of others!

  14. Shared on Pinterest and Facebook – I want all of my friends with kids to know about this and how to prevent it! Thank you for sharing!

  15. This was the first time I read your story…shared it on my moms page, and my personal page on fb (as we are leaving to Santa Rosa Beach on Sunday!!) We will definitely be on the lookout~ Thanks for sharing and so happy alls well!

  16. Your story really terrified me, and I shared it so that others who live near me in Florida will know what can happen if they dig these huge holes. It’s so scary, and I’m so glad that your little one (well, now he’s a big boy) is ok!

  17. shared on facebook – praising with you today that your boys are strong and healthy and still here to love you and be loved by you.

  18. I have a friend who takes her grandkids to the beach. I thought of her as I read your story and tagged her when I shared on Facebook. I think I’ll go back and tag my daughter-in-law too.

  19. Shared on facebook- how had I not read this before?! Thank you so very much! We are planning a beach trip with little ones next month and I am incredibly grateful for this knowledge – will keep spreading the word. So glad your little one is safe and so appreciative of your work to share this message!

  20. Shared your story and will continue to do so! Trying to figure out how I too can prevent hot tub accidents from happening … wonder how many states allow the hot tub to be right next to the pool and not have any gates around it. Indeed a great celebration that your son is alive!!! God Bless!

  21. I’d never heard of such a thing. Thank you for getting the word out and I’m so glad your son was found alive. I’ve shared this to my facebook wall.

  22. As a grandmother, shared this with two generations. Living on the west coast, we often take our gkids to the beach. You have a beautiful family, as do I…we are so blessed…xo

  23. Shared your story on facebook…I knew about the danger of sand collapsing, but to know how quickly and completely it can happen was an eye-opener. So glad your son was saved.

  24. Shared on Facebook and Pinterest. Thank you so much for sharing both the trauma of what happened and the joy that your son is okay.

  25. Shared your first posting of this story on FB. Can’t imagine losing a child to something like this. So relieved you were able to locate your little guy!!!! Certainly a reminder of how precious our little ones are.

  26. I saw a friend’s Facebook post linking back to your original blog post and remembered a vague memory I have from my childhood that still dredges up fear in my heart. I don’t know if it happened to me or my sister, but I remember something happening. Unfortunately, my mother passed away and I have no one left to ask about the incident.

    Thank you for sharing your story so that I can, in turn, share it with others. I’ve shared it here on Facebook:

    and on Twitter:

    So nice to see the update. God bless you and your family. ❤

  27. Shared on facebook, Stacy. Praise the good Lord for the message and Gift of your dear sons.

  28. This is the first time I have heard this. Thank you for sharing your story. And Erika’s post is incredible. So happy you and yours had one of God’s angels watching over your family. I shared this on Facebook and with some family not on Facebook.

  29. Wow, mama. I had no idea this could happen. I saw signs at Myrtle Beach this summer asking people not to leave holes, but I thought it was so people didn’t trip. Nothing like this ever entered my mind! Thank you for sharing- I shared your story on Facebook, in hopes that all my friends who are heading to the beach this summer will be aware!

  30. I’ll be sharing this story with everyone that will listen on Sunday when I’m at the beach with my little ones.
    I would have never thought about sand holes. Thank you for sharing your story!

  31. Your story was shared with me from a mom in my work ( parenting group. I, in turn, shared it on the forum of my parenting group the West Los Angeles Parents of Multiples. I don’t often go to the beach, but I do have 3-year-old twins, so what your family went through was particularly meaningful to me. All of our children are so precious to us. Thank you for sharing these beach safety tips.

  32. I have shared your story on my FB page – as someone who grew up near water and who spends many summers/vacations on the ocean I am floored by this and vow to continue retelling to as many people as I can. One of my friends who saw my post said they had witnessed something similar on a beach in Poland. Thank you for your courage.

  33. I am sharing your story on Facebook and Twitter. I have a one year old, and going to the beach has definitely been on my list of things to do. I am so happy your family was able to thrive after this terrifying experience!

  34. I read about this story on a friend’s fb today and immediately reposted. And all who have read it have also reposted. I read it not knowing that this horrible event happened years ago. I suspect that you too have the feeling that you have *just* lived through it. I do not wish to be entered in the giveaway — It’s a terrific way to celebrate, but I feel grateful simply to have read your story, to have passed on the information, and to know that your lovely children continue to thrive. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us. ❤

  35. Found your blog post via a shared link from a Facebook friend. So thankful for your miracle; I had no idea this sort of thing happened! I have shared your post with my Facebook friends. As an aside, I nearly broke my leg once while walking along a beach and accidentally falling into an abandoned hole. I never imagined the real danger they could be.

  36. Thank you so much for sharing. I understand that feeling you had too well. I shared your story and will continue to do so for the rest of the summer. Thank you again (((hugs)))

  37. Shared on twitter and google+. So glad both your boys are doing well. Something similar happened to a local family to me last year. The little girl lived but sadly her father did not. I had no idea that there could be sand sink holes before then. We are extra careful at the beach now.
    Hope you have a great rest of the summer!

  38. Pingback: overwhelmed :: a follow-up | earthchicknits

Comments are closed.