Dry Drownings

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Dr. Kevin Carney, medical director of the Emergency Department at Children’s Hospital Colorado explains dry drownings.

Nearly 4,000 drowning deaths yearly in US  - most common cause of injury-related death in 1-4 age range.

“Drowning” is the process of respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid but doesn’t always lead to death. Drowning deaths result from decreased oxygen to the brain and the resulting cardiac arrest - not necessarily whether there is water in the lungs.

Terms such as near, wet, dry, passive, active, secondary, and silent drowning aren’t medically accepted terms and should not be used because they are confusing.

Most delayed symptoms of drowning will make themselves obvious within a few hours of the suspected drowning event and definitely within the first 24-48 hours. These worsening symptoms are very obvious and you won’t miss them.

Symptoms to watch for after possible drowning event: cough that persists, increased rate of breathing or “working hard” to breathe, extreme fatigue, persistent vomiting (don’t forget that most kids will be a little tired after swimming and it’s not uncommon to throw up one or two times from swallowing water). Seek medical care if your child is having any of these symptoms

The recent focus on drowning is a great opportunity to discuss actual preventative actions parents can take to keep kids safe around water: get kids swim lessons, close supervision at all times around water (within touching distance for toddlers), learn CPR, have locked fence if you have a home pool.

“Water-Related Injuries”and http://www.healthychildren.org/ from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) regarding “Drowning Prevention”