Child Dies in ‘Dry Drowning’

June 09, 2008 08:00 AM
by Lindsey Chapman
An hour after leaving a swimming pool, a South Carolina boy suffocated in a dry drowning, a swimming hazard most parents aren’t aware of.

30-Second Summary

Dry drowning happens after a swimmer inhales a small amount of water into the lungs; if left untreated, the lungs are unable to fully absorb oxygen into the body.

“I’ve never known a child could walk around, talk, speak and their lungs be filled with water,” said Cassandra Jackson, the mother of the boy who drowned.

And that’s the tough part; dry drowning can take time to happen, and the symptoms can be overlooked.
Difficulty breathing, extreme behavioral changes and tiredness are three signs a dry drowning victim may exhibit. Because children in particular are prone to quick mood swings or fatigue after playing hard, it’s not always easy to know if these changes are abnormal.

Dr. Daniel Rauch, a pediatrician from New York University’s Langone Medical Center, said it becomes very important for parents to know their child’s behavioral patterns.

Persistent coughing is another indication of dry drowning. However, Dr. Neil Schachter, medical director of respiratory care at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, said, “If someone comes out of the water and coughs for a minute, then calms down—that is much different than if the child keeps coughing or complaining of pain.”

Drowning is the second most common cause of death for children under age 14.

There are several tips that can be followed to protect children from drowning, whether in the water or out. Chief among those precautions is adequate supervision anytime a child is swimming.

Headline Link: Child drowns after leaving the pool

Related Topics: Swimming safety

Reference: Swimming resources


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