Safety is always a top priority for parents when children are playing in the water. Keeping a close eye on them, having a lifeguard on the scene and swimming buddies are all great precautions. However, these things do not always prevent drowning. 

An important question to ask is do parents know what to do if their child suffers from dry or secondary drowning? Stories like this one are a cause for concern. Dry drowning and secondary drowning happen after someone gets out of the water. Signs are usually subtle, but fatal.

What is Dry Drowning?

Dry drowning happens when water is inhaled and causes the vocal cords to spasm and close. Water makes its way into the airway and causes the victim to have trouble breathing. There is usually only a small amount of water or none in the lungs. No one will know if this happens until symptoms set in.

What is Secondary Drowning?

Secondary Drowning is caused by water getting into the lungs. In turn, the lining of the lungs becomes irritated and fluid builds up. This is called pulmonary edema. Lungs are unable to send oxygen to the bloodstream. There are some similarities to dry drowning in this sense because both happen after being out of the water.

Dry Drowning and Secondary Drowning Symptoms

There are a few things to look out for when it comes to dry and secondary drowning. A few of the symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Chest Pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Extreme fatigue

Watch for these symptoms after children get out of the water, especially after a near-drowning. Symptoms can appear up to 48 hours after an incident. So always be vigilant regardless of if your child appears to look fine.  Visit a hospital or consult a doctor if symptoms arrive.

 Dry Drowning and Secondary Drowning Prevention

Always monitor your children while in the water. This lowers the risk of any type of drowning. Precautions like designating swim areas, hiring a lifeguard and having a swim partner can save your child’s life. Keep an eye on your child’s condition for up to 48 hours as mentioned earlier and take them to the hospital if they begin experiencing symptoms. 

Enrolling your child in water safety or swim lessons is a great way to prevent drowning situations. Also, take precautions if you have a home pool. Here are some examples:

  • Installing a pool with a gate lock and alarm
  • Covering your pool when not in use
  • Supervise swimming children

Read more about how to child-proof your pool here. Following our steps will keep your children happy and healthy in the pool. Thousands of drowning accidents happen each year across North America. Prioritize water safety for you and your children next time you hop in the pool!

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