School's out (or almost at least) for summer, and with that means lots of time spent at the pool or beach or anywhere you can take the kids to cool off on a hot summer day. With pools and beaches and water comes an increased need for parents to understand water safety and how to keep all kids safe when around any kind of water.
Most parents are aware of what to look for when kids are in the water that signal trouble, or at least they think they do. Seeing a child panicked or screaming or flailing about are all signs we're used to seeing in television shows and movies that signify someone who may be drowning. But those aren't the only signs a parent needs to look for when it comes to water safety, delayed drowning and dry drowning.
In the case of a "typical" drowning, a person takes water in to their airways, causing difficulty breathing. With dry drowning, the water doesn't quite reach the lungs, instead after breathing in the water it will causes the vocal cords to spasm and close up. According to WebMD that will cause your child's airways to close, making breathing difficult. The effects of dry drowning will be noticeable almost immediately.
With secondary or delayed drowning, the effects can be delayed and actually get worse over the course of a full 24 hours after being in water. WebMD states this happens when water does enter the lungs, causing irritation and eventually a condition called pulmonary edema. They state your child will likely exhibit trouble breathing almost immediately and it could worsen over the course of 24 hours.
While dry drowning and secondary drowning are rare, experts say there are signs you can look for in your child.
If you see your child intake a large amount of water, either through swallowing or through their nose, be on the look out for a drop in energy or increased irritability.
Healthline warns parents to be on the lookout for the following warning signs of dry drowning if you think your child had a water incident.
difficulty breathing or speaking
irritability or unusual behavior
low energy or sleepiness after a water incident
If you think your child may be a victim of dry drowning, watch for those symptoms and get them immediate care if you think there is a problem. Most people treated immediately for dry drowning have a full recovery with no lasting side effects.
Water safety is so important and knowing what to look for is especially crucial in ensuring the safety of all our children.