In recent years, social media and even reputable news outlets have made viral stories of "dry drowning" and "secondary drowning." Parents everywhere are filled with fear of this seemingly new and rare phenomenon stealing their precious children. And we get it. Anything that could potentially put our kids in danger is terrifying.
The truth is: DROWNING IS VERY REAL, BUT IT IS NOT DRY. What you may not realize is that the terms "dry drowning" and "secondary drowning" are not recognized by the greater medical community. Most cases of so-called "dry drowning" have been later attributed to an unrelated medical condition or secondary complications, like infection, due to a drowning incident.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) based on terminology established by the World Congress on Drowning in 2002, "Drowning is the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid. Drowning outcomes are classified as death [fatal drowning], morbidity [nonfatal drowning with injury or illness], and no morbidity [nonfatal drowning without injury or illness]." Any child who has experienced a drowning event - that is submersion/immersion/inhaling liquid - should receive a medical examination and be observed if necessary, even if they do not appear to be experiencing complications.
Watch for the following symptoms after a water incident:
Hand in Hand is here to educate, and we are passionate about water safety. As part of our mission, we believe it essential to provide parents and caregivers with the facts regarding drowning and how to prevent it. After all, drowning kills more children between the ages of 1 and 4 than anything else except birth defects (CDC). Drowning is a very real epidemic but is also preventable. Please take the time to educate yourself on the Layers of Protection for Water Safety.
For more information on "dry drowning" from reputable medical professionals and scientific sources, visit the following links:
Drowning is never dry: Two ER doctors explain the real swimming danger kids face by Rick Pescatore, D.O. and Seth C. Hawkins, M.D.
Dispelling 'Dry Drowning' and Other Swimming Safety Myths by Brad Uren, M.D.
YOUR KIDS AREN’T DRY DROWNING (BECAUSE IT’S NOT REAL) by Dani Stringer, MSN, CPNP, PMHS
Death After Swimming Is Extremely Rare - And Is NOT "Dry Drowning" by Rebecca Parker, MD, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians