Hello Parents! I’ve been getting A LOT of concerned questions regarding a topic that’s been popping up all over our Facebook feeds this summer and wanted to take a moment to address it. Secondary drowning is a harrowing phrase swimming through the interweb that describes children drowning while on dry land after they’ve been out of the water for at least several hours.
As you prepare for vacations and your children enjoy the water, Facebook has gone wild with videos and articles of what seems to be children suffering from loss of breath and suffocation while on land. For the sake of all vacations everywhere, and our children’s continued love for the water, I want to set the record straight.
What we see on Facebook is a dramatized, unrealistic explanation of what secondary drowning actually is. For a swimmer to experience this phenomenon, they would have to have already drowned and been resuscitated or potentially have some biological defect around the cardiovascular system. These articles and videos that pop up about stories of secondary drowning victims don’t explain that these swimmers more likely than not, already had an in water drowning experience and weren’t properly checked up on at a hospital.
If your swimmer ever experiences an in water drowning experience, the best thing you can do is take them to the hospital immediately after. There’s a misconception around being resuscitated and being cleared from the drowning experience which needs to be addressed. To ensure your child, or anyone for that matter, is truly out of the woods after a drowning experience, they NEED to see a doctor. So long as you take this precaution, secondary drowning should not be something that paralyzes you from enjoying time with your family in the water.
Secondary drowning is a phenomenon that occurs in about 1% of drowning situations. There are very clear and immediate signs that indicate that a swimmer may be experiencing secondary drowning. These symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, fatigue, vomiting, wooziness and forgetfulness. Although these signs are something to keep in the back of your head, fear of secondary drowning should never be something that stops you or your swimmer from having an incredible time around the water.