Dry Drowning and Children: What You Need to Know

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There is pretty much nothing scarier to a parent than the prospect of losing a child to drowning. One minute she is happily splashing and playing, and the next she is panicking and so are you. All parents are on high alert while at the beach, lake and community pool. We know not to just relax and rely solely on a life guard to do the job – after all they have a lot of people to monitor at one time. Pool injuries happen in the blink of an eye, so we need to be vigilant around water. It’s not just about making sure our kids can swim well. Another phenomenon we need to be aware of is dry drowning. Make sure you are informed and aware of its symptoms, which can take up to 24 hours to be revealed.

Be on the Lookout For Signs

The good news is that dry drowning is still a relatively rare occurrence but one you need to be aware of so your family does not fall victim to it. Dry drowning happens when a small amount of water causes a spasm in the airway, causing it to close. This usually happens after someone exits the water. There is also a condition called secondary drowning, which is caused by water getting into the lungs and can cause problems up to 24 hours later.

Here is what to watch for:

  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sleepiness
  • Seeming out of it or woozy
  • Seeing these symptoms particularly following a water rescue event

If your child presents these symptoms, call your pediatrician or medical clinic. If your child is struggling to breathe, call 911 or immediately go to the ER.

It is a sad reality that drowning kills about 10 people each day in the United States. Children 5 and under represent the highest risk for drowning. While public safety education and water destinations typically do a great job of keeping our young swimmers safe, not everyone is well informed about the phenomenon of dry drowning or secondary drowning.

They can occur up to a full 24 hours after swimming and typically happen following an event where your child may have gotten into a struggle situation while swimming, particularly if there was a rescue episode. So be sure to monitor you child closely after any scare in the water. Better yet, make sure they are checked out medically to avoid any problem moving forward as drowning actually happens any time a person is submerged under water for any length of time, goes into respiratory distress and can’t get enough oxygen into his or her body.

We care about our youngest community members and want them to have fun but be safe around water. Make sure your kids learn how to swim early and that they are closely monitored when in or around water. The summer is hot in Miami, and everyone seeks water to cool off and have fun. Make sure your family’s experience with water is a positive one. If you have any questions or concerns about this misunderstood condition, do not hesitate to bring your child in to see us.

Family Medical Clinic Kendall is an inner-city health clinic in Miami. We want to support area families in good parenting, including providing proper nutrition and exercise for children. We encourage you to bring your children in for pediatric care and we have onsite X-ray services for those times when accidents happen. Located at 9000 SW 137th Avenue, Suite 111, in Miami, we offer a walk-in clinic, urgent care and a lab & diagnostics. Call us today at (305) 603-7824.

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