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What should boating parents know about dry drowning?

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2023 | Injuries

Boating is an incredibly popular activity for Tennessee families, especially during the summer months. If your children leave the boat to play in the water, though, you have to take precautions to avoid drowning. After all, according to the Children’s Safety Network, 900 kids drown in the U.S. every single year.

Drowning happens when water enters the lungs and deprives a person of oxygen. If your children survive a near-drowning incident, though, they may be vulnerable to dry drowning.

What is dry drowning?

Even if it is not enough to be immediately fatal, water in the lungs can cause lung damage. Indeed, it is not uncommon for lung tissue to swell or perform improperly because of water infiltration. Dry drowning happens when lung damage causes respiratory failure long after a child has left the water.

Is dry drowning fatal?

Dry drowning certainly can be fatal. If a child does not lose consciousness during a near-drowning experience, however, he or she is unlikely to die from dry drowning. Nevertheless, dry drowning can cause long-term respiratory dysfunction.

How can you spot dry drowning?

If your children have a near-drowning incident, it is advisable to take them to the emergency room for evaluation. You also should watch for the symptoms of dry drowning to appear. Here are some common ones:

  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Breathing challenges
  • Speaking difficulties

Any of these symptoms might indicate a medical emergency. Ultimately, rather than taking a wait-and-see approach, it is imperative to obtain immediate treatment for any possible case of dry drowning.


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