Dry drowning – what is it? Around this time of year, we always get a few questions from worried parents about drowning and especially, “What exactly is dry drowning?” When parents ask this question, they are usually asking about delayed or secondary drowning. Let me educate you about both.
With dry drowning, water never enters the victim’s lungs. Rather, it causes the vocal chords to spasm and shuts off the airway without actually filling the lungs with water. It looks a lot like normal drowning because it occurs in real time and causes asphyxiation. An example of a situation where this could occur is your child being hit in the face (with their mouth open) by a big wave. Water does not enter the lungs (as in drowning) but causes the vocal chords to shut off the airway thus cutting of the oxygen supply. you would notice difficulty with breathing right away. This is not an
Delayed drowning, sometimes called secondary drowning, is different and typically what parents are asking about. Water gets into the lungs in small amounts — not enough to disable breathing right away. Instead, it sits there and inhibits the lungs’ ability to oxygenate blood. From there, the victim starts to have more and more trouble breathing over the course of several hours.
Here’s what you need to look for, even hours after you’ve left the pool or beach:
- Difficulty breathing, coughing, chest pain, or throwing up. Look for rapid and shallow breaths, nostril flaring, or a pronounced gap in the ribs when breathing. These are all signs a child is working too hard to get oxygen.
- Extreme tiredness. Big-time fatigue can be a sign that the brain isn’t getting enough oxygen.
- Any odd change in behavior. Kids in the beginning stages of delayed drowning may be really cranky, argumentative, or combative.
- Odd physical changes. Look out for blue lips or pale skin.
If your child displays these symptoms, do not delay – seek medical attention. However, do not panic and keep your child away from the wonderful world of water! Dry drowning and delayed drowning are very rare. They make up only 1-2% of all drowning incidents.
Campbell started swimming with Charlotte Aquatics when he was 4 years old. He started in group lessons and progressed to private as his interest grew and he developed his technique. He is now 7 years old and a 1st grade student who really loves science. In addition to swim, Campbell loves to play soccer and flag football. His favorite NFL teams are the Panthers and the Tennessee Titans (much to his parents’ chagrin 😊). Campbell’s favorite swim stroke is the breast stroke. He loves the rope swing at Charlotte Aquatics and also loves his teacher Liz, who allows him to take short swim breaks in the middle of lessons for fun in the pool!
Parent’s Note: We are so excited Campbell has reached this big milestone and are looking forward to his graduation!
Hello! My name is Siri and I am 9 years old and started the intriguing sport swimming when I was 7 years old. Swimming is one of my favorite sport and will always be. Swimming makes me feel tranquilized and when I do it, it helps me improve my physical fitness stamina. Charlotte Aquatics was and will always be the most important step to success in my life of swimming. The beginning of a long line of swimming events, a building block to never forget.
My name is Kelly H. and I’m 10 years old and in fifth grade. When I’m not swimming I like to read. My best swimming memory is when there was an Olympics when I was little. I put my patches in a drawer with important things like baby photos. My favorite stroke is breaststroke.
Swimming has impacted me by helping me not drown. My favorite thing about Charlotte Aquatics is when I got to be in a class with my sister. And my favorite memory at Charlotte Aquatics is when I got to see my baby cousin swim with my aunt.
My name is Avani and I am 8 years old. I am in 2nd grade and my favorite stroke is backstroke. When I am not swimming I like to read and play with my little brother. I kept all my patches in a separate folder. I am not afraid of water anymore because of swimming. My favorite memory is when I swam in 5ft without any help!
MiKaylah is a 9 year old 4th grader. When she is not swimming, she enjoys modeling, dancing, and a traveling with her family. MiKaylah’s favorite swimming memory is when she won multiple first place awards as a member of the Huntington Forest swim team. MiKaylah’s favorite swim strokes are freestyle and backstroke. What MiKaylah has enjoyed most about Charlotte Aquatics was each time she leveled up and ultimately passing level 6. MiKaylah is looking forward to the upcoming swim team season and continued traveling adventures with her family.
My name is Aleena and I am 7 years old. When I am not swimming I do Taekwando, play with my plush toys, and play with my older brother. He also graduated from Charlotte Aquatics! My best swimming memory is when I passed level 6. I did not know that I was going to graduate that day. It was a surprise. My dad got me a balloon and I love the trophy Mr. Mike gave me. My favorite swim strokes are Freestyle and Butterfly. I love swimming and I feel more comfortable in the water. I like the staff and my instructors, especially Mr. Mike. My favorite memory of Charlotte Aquatics is when Mr. Mike gave me my trophy.
Parent Note: We are so proud of Aleena. Thank you to all the staff and instructors at Charlotte Aquatics for teaching our kids the important life-long skill of swimming. We have been with you for over 8 years and it has been a wonderful experience. We look forward to enrolling both kids in the Elite Fish program over the Summer.
Constantine started swim lessons at Charlotte Aquatics at age 3. Since he started lessons, he has grown in his abilities, confidence and technique that has extended throughout other aspects of his life. He is a 3rd grade student and really enjoys math. In addition to swim, Constantine has also played the Cello since he was three and performs at school and in recitals. He also loves basketball and his favorite basketball team is Syracuse. Constantine will also be a part of his neighborhood swim team starting in May. His favorite swim stroke is freestyle.
Hi I am Malaak and I am 10 years old. When I am not swimming I enjoy reading and playing video games. The best swimming memory I have is learning the backstroke. I have all of my patches on my wall! My favorite stroke is the front crawl. Swimming has impacted my life by increasing my physical fitness. Charlotte Aquatics has been a great experience. My favorite memory is having lessons around Christmas! The decorations were great.