Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dry or Delayed Drowning

With the weather warming up it's almost swimming time again! Which I'm way excited for. But, I am a slightly paranoid mother.

Thanks to my mom - I was raised to fear the worst...still not sure if that's a good or bad attribute. If you ask my husband, he'll say it's bad - "Life is to be enjoyed, not feared". I couldn't agree more - but what if I just want to be cautious while I enjoy?

I'm sure you all remember the story of the 10 yr old boy who died of dry drowning. He actually died of delayed drowning...confused? Me too.

Dry Drowning:

In "dry drownings," the act of trying to hold the breath for a prolonged period can cause an involuntary laryngospasm reflex and neither water nor air can be taken into the lungs. Eventually, the person loses consciousness and dies from lack of oxygen, again, a type of suffocation. This happens in 10 to 15 percent of all drowning cases. It can also be triggered, more rarely, by hitting the water forcefully.

Delayed Drowning:

Asphyxiation due to inhaling water - water on the lungs. Things to watch for: choking or gagging that lasts for more than a minute or two, any blue tinge to the lips that's not from cold, if the child seems very sleepy or lethargic out of proportion to the activity, to the point that it's not easy to wake him or rouse him to talk to you, any loss of bowel or bladder control in an older child, any loss of consciousness.

These symptoms, in conjunction with any incident in which a child chokes on, swallows or aspirates water, may indicate there's some respiratory distress from water damage that needs immediate attention.

Just something to think about with swimming season coming our way. The more you know the better off! But beyond that - should we worry about baths for our little ones?

I have always given Little Miss her tubby right before bed. It's part of her bedtime routine. She frequently tries to drink the water or gets a little crazy pretending to be a fish and inhales water. Should I start giving her a tubby earlier in the day so I will know if something is wrong?

Is that crossing the line into too paranoid? Or is it just being safe and cautious? Any opinions?


  1. I used to teach swim lesson and coach high school swim team and as a life guard I have had to jump in and save children that were drowning. I have heard that these cases are very rare. I think the same drowning you are talking about could happen from drinking and choking on a glass of water. The case that they had on Oprah awhile back the kid was holding onto the side and his head didn't even go in the water. The water splashed into his face and he had the delayed drowning. For swimming lessons with the red cross they say that you should only put young children under water up to 3 times unless they can do it by themselves and then they can go as many times as they want. I think the best thing you can do would be to teach your kids how to swim and swimming pool saftey because more kids drown from not knowing how to swim than from these rare cases.

  2. delaying the bath is too paranoid. it's all about relative risk. the sensational stories are scary but the truth is that your daughter has a much greater risk of getting hurt in a car accident and you still drive places. right?


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