Tucson pediatrician warns about 'dry drowning'

Published: Jun. 19, 2017 at 10:01 AM MST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 at 11:20 AM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Southern Arizona is under an extreme heat warning the third week of June, and that means more kids will be taking a dip to beat the heat.

Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children ages one to fourteen years old, according to the CDC.

However, a rare form of drowning, dry drowning, accounts for less than two percent of drowning incidents.

Dry drowning happens when a child inhales water into the lungs. The vocal cords spasm and that causes breathing problems.

No cases of dry drowning have been reported in Tucson this year, but local pediatricians are still warning parents to look for red flags.

Symptoms start between 1 and 24 hours after the victim has inhaled water.

Symptoms may include

  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Sleepiness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Irritability

Dr. Duane Dyson of Dyson Pediatrics in Tucson, warns dry drowning can happen in any amount of water.

"You know, it can be kind of tricky because not all kids are going to be completely submerged. They could be in water parks, doing Slip-n-slides, in a little kiddie pool. Just a small amount of water could be enough to cause this type of situation," Dyson said.

According to Dyson, the best prevention for dry drowning is to enroll your children in swim lessons, and to supervise them while they are swimming.

"Just a mouthful of water could be deadly. Try to minimize the horse play, splashing dunking other kids, even water guns," Dyson said.

Dry drowning made national headlines, when a 4-year-old Texas boy died after swimming over Memorial Day weekend.

If you think your child is experiencing symptoms of dry drowning, take them to the emergency room immediately, or call 911.

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