The tragic death of a 12-year-old Florida boy following an accident last week at a Keene Valley swimming hole is a stark reminder that despite the fun connected with living in a natural playground, there are inherent risks.
Anytime locals or visitors go to one of the many outdoor attractions — whether hiking, swimming, boating, biking, running or anything else — safety should always be taken into consideration.
Even when dangers aren’t visible, they can exist in the outdoor wonderland we call home. In the case of recent drowning, a hidden rock formation underwater trapped the youngster.
Parents should be reminded to explain the dangers of swimming in a river laden with rocks and unseen hazards. The current of a fast-moving river can easily sweep a youngster away in a heartbeat.
Locals or regular visitors should not become
complacent and take their familiarity with the area as a reason to forgo safety.
Potential dangers also lie along many of the trails and other areas. Climbing rocks are attractive for children, but steep drops are sometimes near — and friendly reminders should always be given to be mindful of the dangers.
Unfortunately, many people jump into a canoe without wearing a personal floatation device — and that’s an accident waiting to happen.
It’s sad to know that a family visited our beautiful region and was forced to leave heartbroken by the loss of a loved one. Our sympathy goes out to them.
So, for the sake of learning from this tragedy, please remember to be vigilant about recognizing the risks of our natural playground.