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Dry drowning is a real danger and threat to young children that parents must be made aware of. Dry drowning and secondary drowning occurs in about one to two percent of all drowning accidents. Although dry drownings are rare, they can tragically be fatal. A child can accidentally breathe in water from playing too hard in the water, being dunked under water, being thrown in unprepared, or struggling in the water. The child may come up or out of the water and appear to be fine, even hours after you leave the pool, ocean or lake.
Dry Drowning and Secondary Drowning
Dry drowning occurs when the child breathes in water, but the water does not actually reach their lungs. In dry drowning, the vocal cords spasm after leaving the water, which closes the airway. Symptoms include difficulty breathing and will occur shortly after the incident.
When secondary drowning occurs, water actually gets into the lungs through the airway which causes pulmonary edema. This is a condition that occurs when fluid gets into the lungs preventing oxygen from reaching the lungs and bloodstream. Secondary drowning may occur anytime from one hour up to 24 hours after the incident.