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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Parenting Tips: Child Safety Alert!

Downed trees are a common occurrence in wooded areas but did you know they are a deadly hazard for your children?  Two families in Maine have learned the had way and have taught others to be aware of the extreme danger posed by the root ball of a downed tree.

Preschool children love to explore. They are adventurous. Unfortunately they also have very little sense of what is dangerous.  Twice in the last six years in Maine, preschool boys have been exploring the fallen trees in the yard and died because neither they, nor the adults, realized the danger.

We have all seen huge root balls strangely vertica, perpendicular to the ground at the end of tall pines or other fallen trees.  What we need to remember is that although the tree is down, in many cases all that is keeping it down is the weight of the tree top and branches.  Often someone well-intentioned starts by cutting off the tree limbs and/or the top of the tree. If the tree is being held down only by the weight and tension, the base of the tree and root ball can suddenly snap back into its hole when that weight is suddenly released.

The parents of four-year-old Lucas Herrin and five-year-old Isaac Benjamin, learned the hard way. In each case a tree base snapped back into its hole, trapping a child whose curiosity had been unable to resist the big hole. They are now trying to spread the word of this little-known danger so that no one else will lose a son, a grandson, a brother. So that no one else will learn the hard way.  Spread the word. Please.

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