Colorado’s water related fatalities garnered national attention this summer, after three people died within a single week while tubing. The most recent incident occurred last week when a Denver mother died while trying to save her 11 year old son from drowning. Both mother and son were out tubing on Clear Creek in Golden, Colorado when the boy’s tube capsized. The boy’s mother, 31 year old Amber Raye Presson, jumped into the water after her son but hit her head on a rock. She was then knocked unconscious. As the two where pushed downstream the son was able to get the attention of bystanders who helped the pair out of the water. Paramedics pronounced Presson dead at the scene, while her son was uninjured.
With fatalities similar to Presson’s becoming far too prevalent, it begs the question of whether or not tubing safety standards are up to par in Colorado. Inadequate swimming ability, lack of supervision, and alcohol use are all factors that contribute to an increased risk of drowning. In Colorado specifically, tubing creeks is a very popular summer activity (there’s even Tube To Work Day in Boulder, CO every July). However, tubers are often misled by the creeks’ shallow waters. It is important to remember that it takes less than six inches of water to drown. Additionally, creek waters can be extremely fast moving creating opportunities for a tuber to become separated from their tube. Rocks, trees, and cold water are also dangerous factors when out on the creek.
People often underestimate the statistics related to drowning. The World Health Organization states that, “Drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide”. Additionally, the WHO classifies children, men, and individuals with increased access to water as the most at risk groups for drowning.