When you think about taking your kids swimming, a checklist of must-haves usually comes to mind – sunscreen, towels, goggles, and flotation devices are the typical items. The one thing you might not be thinking about is if your child could be at risk for a condition known as dry drowning.
While statistics show that dry drowning is far from common, it’s still something you need to know about.
What Is Dry Drowning Exactly?
The term ‘dry drowning’ is used to describe what happens when someone inhales a small amount of water while submerged.
This amount of water is not enough to cause them to drown or lose consciousness immediately but it will cause spasms that make the airway close. It can take up to an hour for the symptoms of a dry drowning to appear.
In some cases, you may hear ‘dry drowning’ and ‘secondary drowning’ used interchangeably but they are different conditions.
In secondary drowning, water gets into the lungs which then interferes with the effective transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body.
Unlike dry drowning, the effects of secondary drowning can take up to 24 hours to become apparent. That means parents and guardians may often miss them.
The Symptoms To Look Out For
According to pediatricians, any child who has been submerged should be assessed for signs of dry drowning. As stated previously, it can take up to an hour for these signs to be noticeable so it’s a good idea to keep your child under observation for a little while.