CLEARWATER, Fla. — Beachgoers have another important warning to consider before heading to the sand-filled shorelines: Be careful when you’re on the sand digging holes.

What You Need To Know

  • Lifeguards in Clearwater Beach are urging beachgoers to avoid digging deep holes

  • The warning comes after a fatal accident

  • There are some simple rules of thumb to follow for better beach safety

Authorities reported that sand collapsed on children digging a hole at Lauderdale By The Sea, killing a 7-year-old girl and sending 8-year-old to the hospital Wednesday.

On Clearwater Beach, lifeguard manager Patrick Brafford said his team is watching people in the water and people on the sand.

“We don’t want the parents or whomever to let them go in a hole or dig a hole that’s over their head," he said. "That sand can collapse quickly. The person doesn’t have to be completely buried for it to be an extreme emergency.

"Sand is heavy. It’s a lot of weight and that can pin your arms down, that can put pressure on your chest, that can keep you from breathing."

Brafford said beachcombers should not dig a hole that’s deeper than half of their body height. He also urged beachgoers to cover up any holes they dig while on the sand to prevent people from falling into them.

The danger of a potential collapse is something Amy Blackham said she never really thought of before with her kids.

“My kids don’t really have the attention span to dig for that long, to dig for something that deep," she said. "But I could see maybe an uncle or dad wanting to join in and make it big as they could. So I’ll talk to my husband and let him know about that, too."

Brafford said most beaches don’t have lifeguards, so if they do notice any big holes, be careful and, more importantly, don’t dig them.