ABC News recently ran the above featured, inspired by recent shark attacks on children in North Carolina waters. While the feature covers several topics, I think the most worthwhile aspect of this report is the advice that parents should always accompany their children and be aware of risks of swimming in the ocean.
While the feature brings up the often used statistic that one is more likely to be struck by lightning than to be attacked by a shark, it fails to mention some of the other potential risks of swimming in the ocean. In particular, the ABC report does not even bring up the risk of drowning. In the past month alone, North Carolina beaches have unfortunately been the sites of multiple drownings.
Having visited North Carolina beaches on a fairly regular basis for many years of my life, I appreciate what NC beaches have to offer. However, there are inherent risks involved in swimming in the ocean, and when children are a part of the equation some of these risks become even greater. While it is important that beach goers are aware that sharks (as well as other predatory fish and potentially dangerous ocean life) are in the water, people should also be aware of the other potential dangers.
In the cases of the two recent North Carolina shark attacks, reports seem to indicate that there was proper parental supervision in both incidents. While even the most watchful parents can’t always prevent an unseen event such as a shark attack, proper supervision can certainly help to cut down some of the other risks involved with a day at the beach.