What everyone needs to know about secondary drowning

Posted by on Jul 3, 2014 in


To continue our blog series this summer on the dangers of swimming pools, this week I will be talking about secondary drowning. Did you know that a child can actually drown out of the water? That is what secondary drowning is and it is something that every parent, guardian or babysitter needs to be aware of. Secondary drowning is a scary thought but as long as you know the symptoms and what to watch out for you will be able to keep your child safe.

What is secondary drowning?
Secondary drowning is when fluid builds up in the lungs after a near-drowning incident. This fluid causes trouble breathing. A child who had a near drowning experience in the water can be out of water and walking around normally before signs of secondary drowning become apparent. If secondary drowning is untreated, it can be fatal.

What are the signs of secondary drowning?
A child who inhaled water can have – trouble breathing, chest pain, cough, sudden changes in behavior, extreme fatigue or high fever. At times these symptoms are not easy to recognize, especially in children who are usually tired after a long day in the sun and water. However, if your child had a near drowning incident while in the water make sure to look closely for these signs, which can appear even hours later.

What should you do if someone is at risk?
Take your child to the emergency room immediately if you notice any of the signs above. Do not hesitate, even if you see just one of the symptoms bring them in right away.

Can secondary drowning be prevented?
Prevention includes knowing CPR, teaching young children how to swim, putting a fence completely around a swimming pool, teach swimmers how to blow out water, and keeping an eye on children in the water.
Click on this link to check out a story about a toddler who experienced secondary drowning. The mother wanted to share her story with the world so everyone would be aware of secondary drowning and how serious it can be.


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