Every day, about two or three kids drown in the United States.
And that’s why drowning is a leading cause of death for children and teens. In fact, it is the number two cause of unintentional death, right after motor vehicle traffic accidents. Not surprisingly, drowning is the number one cause of death for toddlers and preschoolers.
So, what are many parents afraid of?
Although the focus should be on making sure you learn CPR, fence off your pool, supervise your kids around water, and have them wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket around the water, some parents are overly worried about dry drowning instead.
“Parents are being unduly alarmed by media reports suggesting that children can die from drowning a week after swimming,” said Rebecca Parker, MD, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. “Some children can experience complications from swimming. For example, it is possible for a child to inhale water and develop an infection, such as pneumonia, which can become very serious and cause breathing problems. If a child has breathing problems at any time, the parent should take him or her to the emergency department. But there are no cases of completely normal, asymptomatic patients who suddenly die because they went swimming a few days ago. It’s also time to retire those incorrect terms, because it is inaccurate and incorrect to say a child was initially fine after a water event and then “dry drowned” a day or week later.”
It isn’t hard to see why.
Although media reports of “dry drowning” deaths are rare, they are continuously shared on Facebook and other social media platforms, making it seem like they are much more common.
Still, it is important to note that what folks call dry drowning is often “delayed” drowning. Your child is not going to get sick simply because they coughed in the pool. They are going to have to cough, choke, and actually inhale some water to develop “delayed” drowning, which is rare.
Even though it is rare, you should still know about it though, right?
“You’ll want to keep a close eye on your child for about 24 hours following a close call in the water. Delayed symptoms of drowning include shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, coughing and/or chest discomfort. Extreme fatigue, irritability and behavior changes are also possible.”
Delayed Symptoms of Drowning: Know the Signs
Of course, but it shouldn’t be overblown to the point where you get panicked whenever your kids are in the water.
Or if you think more about dry drowning than you do about a much more common hazard – drowning.
What to Know About Dry Drowning Hype
Dry drowning is often a rare type of delayed drowning that occurs after a child inhales water and later develops what can become life-threatening symptoms, including fatigue, fever, coughing, and troubling breathing.
More on Dry Drowning Hype
- Delayed Symptoms of Drowning: Know the Signs
- Death After Swimming Is Extremely Rare – And Is NOT “Dry Drowning”
- What’s the Real Story With Delayed Drowning and Dry Drowning in Children?
- Drowning in a Sea of Misinformation: Dry Drowning and Secondary Drowning
- Debunking ‘Dry Drowning,’ ‘Secondary Drowning’ and ‘Delayed Drowning’
- “Dry Drowning”: How Worried Should You Really Be?
- Dry Drowning and Children: What Parents Should Know
- Your Kids Aren’t Dry Drowning (Because It’s Not Real)
- CDC – Drowning Prevention
- Water Safety at Home
- Layers of Protection Around Aquatic Environments to Prevent Child Drowning
- Drowning: It Can Happen in an Instant
- WISQARS 10 Leading Causes of Death, United States, 2016, All Races, Both Sexes
Last Updated on July 9, 2018 by Vincent Iannelli, MD