Near Drowning: Is My Child Really OK?


Near Drowning: Is My Child Really OK?

I’m Ed Smith, and I’m a Folsom personal injury lawyer. It’s ninety degrees in the shade and your neighbor Sarah invites you and your kids over for an afternoon pool party. What could be better than that? You round up your children, get their swimsuits on and head next door.

No Lifeguard

Like most parents, you are extra cautious when your child is in the water, especially at a neighbor’s pool where there is no lifeguard. Your children are happily playing and splashing. The two girls, eight and eleven, are tossing a beach ball back and forth in the water at the shallow end. Your five year old boy is sitting on the edge of the pool, playfully squirting water toward his sisters with a water pistol.

In a Moment

Turning away for just a moment to answer Sarah’s question about what the kids might want for lunch, you are startled to hear your girls screaming and pointing at the spot where just a few seconds ago their brother Max was perched. Frantically you search the water with your eyes for your child and then he pops up, spluttering and coughing.

By this time, you’ve reached into the water and pulled him out of the pool and onto the edge. He stops crying and after a few more rounds of coughing, seems perfectly fine. Shaken, you decide to get everyone out of the pool and give the kids lunch at home.

Back at Home

But Max doesn’t eat much. That’s not like him after time in the pool but he’s probably just tired you think. He curls up with his favorite picture book on the rug in the living room. As the afternoon slides into evening, you realize something isn’t right. Max has begun to cough again, this time more forcefully. He’s quite pale and limp and in between coughing spasms, he’s irritable and has begun to cry.

Getting Worried

Worried now, you call your pediatrician, who tells you in no uncertain terms to take Max to the ER immediately, as he could be suffering the effects of near drowning, also known as secondary drowning.

Watch YouTube Video – Near Drowning – By:

The video below discusses a near drowning. It goes over some of the common causes of a near drowning such as being an inexperienced swimmer, under the influence of drugs and alcohol or medical conditions such as a seizure disorder. Learn more below:

Like many patients who experience an episode of near drowning, Max seemed perfectly fine a short time after the episode. This latent period, when the person seems to be alright, can range from one to 48 hours after the incident and can also lull parents or caregivers into falsely thinking their child is okay and does not need medical attention.

What Happens in a Near Drowning?

Here’s what happens over time: the water that gets into the person’s lungs causes the lung tissue to swell, compromising lung function and causing the level of oxygen in the bloodstream to drop. Chemicals in pool water can also add to the damage, resulting in inflammation known as chemical pneumonitis.

Early Intervention Crucial

Caught early, the inflammation and swelling can be treated with drugs and oxygen pressure therapy. If not treated, near drowning can lead to further complications including pulmonary edema, respiratory arrest and death.

Careful Supervision Can Prevent a Near Drowning

Always make sure your children are carefully supervised when around water. If a near drowning incident does happen, have the child evaluated at a medical facility immediately, even if the child seems fine.

Treatment and Positive Ending for Max

As for Max, his mom got him to the ER in time. He was admitted and treated for several days with drugs and oxygen therapy and then discharged home. As for his mom, she hopes parents everywhere will learn from her experience.

Other Articles by Ed Smith ~

Folsom Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, and I’m a Folsom personal injury lawyer. If you, or someone you care about has been severely hurt in an accident, please call me at (916) 921-6400 for free, friendly advice. Call me toll-free when calling from outside the Folsom area at (800) 404-5400.

I am a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

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