Dry Drowning: What is it and what can we do to prevent it?


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The thought of good summer fun turning deadly terrifies me beyond words. Understanding prevention and as well as the signs that my child may be in danger is vital as it relates to my sanity. The term “dry drowning” in and of itself is nerve wrecking. But what exactly is dry drowning and how do I recognize the signs?

What is dry drowning?

Dry drowning is when a small amount of water enters someone’s mouth/nose and it gets into their lungs.  It causes  inflammation a contraction in the airway. This causes it to close. Usually, dry drowning  happens soon after getting out of the water.

What are the warning signs?

  • Coughing. Continual  coughing or coughing related to your child “catching their breath”. Seek medical attention.
  • Rescue from water: If your child needs to be rescued from the water medical attention should always be mandatory.
  • Heightened “work of breathing”: Flaring nostrils and rapid (shallow) breathing,   where you can see your child’s ribs require medical attention.
  • Sleepiness: If you have a normally energetic child that’s sleepy all of a sudden, seek medical attention.
  • Forgetfulness or change in behavior: A reduction in oxygen can cause memory loss or dizziness.
  • Vomiting: Inflammation can cause vomiting.


Is dry drowning preventable?

Yes, to a certain extent. Get your children flotation devices when they do not know how to swim. Find free to low-cost swimming lessons at your local park district that will teach them how to breathe properly while playing in the water. But most importantly, monitor your children at the pool.


Have a safe and fun summer with your babies.

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