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Dry Drowning: Little Known Danger

Posted By Regan Zambri & Long || 13-Jun-2008

A ten-year-old South Carolina boy died last week from a danger many parents were unaware of until recently.  Dry drowning occurs when water enters the lungs, preventing proper breathing.  This can occur anywhere from 1 to 24 hours after the water has been ingested.

Because the warning signs are common in children and are not necessarily indicative of a problem, the signs are often ignored.  However, WebMD has provided a list of warning signs that parents should be especially wary of after their child has been swimming or taking a bath.

Warning signs include:

  • difficulty breathing
  • extreme tiredness
  • changes in behavior or mood
  • persistent cough
  • shortness of breath
  • pain in chest

Parents should be vigilant around children who are first-time swimmers, weaker swimmers, and children who have asthma.  If you believe your child is at risk, call a doctor or take your child to the nearest emergency room.

While dry drowning is not common, accounting for less than 20% of all drownings, a real danger does exist for its occurrence.  As with  any potentially dangerous situation, extra caution is advised when children are involved.  Pay close attention to what happens while children are swimming, AND how they behave afterwards.   

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