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What Is Dry Drowning?

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 26-Jun-2017

Earlier this month, a 4-year-old Texas boy lost his life after going swimming with his family during the Memorial Day weekend. According to the parents of the boy, their son began showing signs of an upset stomach shortly after he finished swimming. On June 3rd, their son complained of shoulder pain and then laid down for a nap. Hours later, the boy jolted awake and took his last breath. The parents believe this may have been a case of secondary or dry drowning, a phenomenon that causes a person to drown after going swimming. Young children have an increased risk of succumbing to secondary or dry drowning.

Many news outlets that covered this story failed to mention that most doctors consider dry drowning and secondary drowning separate conditions. Dry drowning can occur when children take in small amounts of water through the nose or mouth, which causes the muscles in the airway to spasm. As a result, the lungs have trouble taking in oxygen. Children can experience dry drowning right after going swimming.

Secondary drowning, which creates similar breathing difficulties, occurs when water is trapped in the lungs. In cases of secondary drowning, children may develop symptoms hours after swimming. Children suffering from either condition may experience symptoms such as:

  • Sudden and unexplained fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Changes in behavior
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting

Parents, babysitters and family members may confuse these symptoms with general fussiness or other illnesses. However, dry and secondary drowning require emergency medical attention. Children can die or suffer traumatic brain injuries if they do not receive prompt treatment.

Can I File a Swimming Pool Accident Lawsuit?

The risk of dry and secondary drowning can be decreased with close supervision, swimming lessons and by requiring children to wear floatation devices. It is common knowledge that accidental drowning is a safety hazard for children enjoying aquatic activities during the summer. Community pools, private businesses and homeowners have a legal obligation to ensure children using their properties are safe from harm.

If your child was harmed during a swimming pool accident, you may have grounds to file a premises liability lawsuit. The Washington DC premises liability attorneys at Regan Zambri Long, PLLC can help you discover possible legal options.

Categories: Pool Safety
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