Dry and Secondary Drowning: What Parents Need to Know
It is imperative not to wait and monitor your child at home, but trust your instinct and seek immediate emergency medical care.
In terms of preventative measures, experts say parents can reduce the risk of dry drowning by teaching children to keep their mouths closed when jumping or diving into cold water, which is less likely to trigger muscle spasm in the airway (laryngospasm.) Children with cardiac or respiratory issues may also benefit from entering cold water gradually rather than instantly. Several measures may also be taken to create an environment less conducive to secondary drowning. Parents or caregivers should closely supervise inexperienced swimmers and remind them to “blow water out.” Adults interacting with children in the water should avoid dunking or unexpectedly throwing them into the water because it puts them at greater risk for ingesting water. At any large gathering of friends or family where there is swimming, a designated adult should be appointed lifeguard in addition to parental supervision.
It is important to have knowledge of dry and secondary drowning and accurate medical information regarding it, but parents should not let fear of drowning prevent them from enjoying quality time with their kids at a swimming pool, lake, beach, or water park. Incidents of dry and secondary drowning are relatively rare. There are some inconsistencies in how health care providers and agencies track the numbers, and some do not distinguish between different types of drowning in their data collection. However, they all agree incidents of dry and secondary drowning are low. A study of near-drowning cases suggests roughly 5% of children who have had serious drowning scares go on to encounter secondary drowning.
In Our Hearts
EverydayFamily extends deepest sympathies to families who have lost a child to drowning. We're very thankful little Ronin is fully recovered and well, and we extend appreciation and admiration to his brave mama, Lindsay, for sharing his story in an effort to help save other children's lives, too.
Have you or someone you know experienced dry or secondary drowning? Share your experiences and insights with our reader family to help other parents and children.