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Parents, is 'dry drowning' something to worry about?

Parents, is 'dry drowning' something to worry about?

Summers are here and until the clouds pour down, kids are going to find ways to frolic and play in the water. Afternoons in the swimming pool, recurring demands of visiting beaches and water parks, etc. are popular activities.

Needless to say, all parents take every possible precaution to keep their children safe when around water. But are there any uncommon risks to you are not aware of?

‘Dry drowning’ or ‘delayed drowning’ although not common but can be a serious risk to a child’s safety. There is increased awareness on this topic after recent incidents in the US have led to children falling very sick after being in the water.

So, What Is ‘Dry Drowning’?

‘Dry drowning’ is not a medical term. The contradictory terms, ‘dry’ and ‘drowning’ often confuses people. But parents are becoming more aware of it since a kid aged 4 died of in Texas, US because of delayed drowning. There have also been some other instances where the children fell quite sick after they'd been playing in water.

Basically, while playing or swimming in water, kids can accidentally swallow water through the nose and mouth but seem fine after the incident.

The amount of water swallowed is not enough to drown a person but it can sometimes cause spasms in the airway - which can close up & stop you from breathing. What makes ‘dry drowning’ or ‘delayed drowning’ dangerous is that respiratory issues can arise 24-48 hours after the child has been in water. If these symptoms are not noticed or treated by a medical professional, they can become serious and in rare cases it can be fatal.

How Do You Recognize Symptoms Of Dry Drowning?

For starters, just be observant!

If your child has been around water in the past 24 - 48 hours and starts to exhibit any of the following symptoms, please make sure to see a medical professional:

  • Persistent Cough
  • Sudden Shortness of Breath or rapid breathing
  • Change in behaviour
  • Unusual lethargy or sleepiness
  • Nausea or vomiting

These are some of the common symptoms of ‘delayed drowning’ which you shouldn’t ignore if your child has been anywhere near water in the previous 24 - 48 hours. Even if it doesn’t seem too serious, get medical attention to be on the safer side anyways and to rule out possibility of health issues. 

Can You Prevent Dry Drowning?

Please remember ‘dry drowning’ or ‘delayed drowning’ is very uncommon so parents should not be paranoid but it is better to be aware of the risk, however small it is.

For starters, make sure there is adult supervision whenever your kids are in water even if they know how to swim. Teach children them water safety norms and make them aware of the dangers of being careless around a pool or water body.

If there has been a lot of rough playing or water splashing around, ask them periodically if they are feeling anything unusual.

Make sure you don’t allow your children near water if they are under any medication as medicines can make kids drowsy. Ensure kids always have flotation device whenever possible. And lastly, always be observant of your kid’s activities and symptoms.

Do not panic but vigilance is a small price to pay for your child’s safety.