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Texas Toddler’s Death Brings Awareness of ‘Dry Drowning’ Risks

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Four-year-old Frankie Delgado was playing in the water at the Texas City Dike when a sudden wave from a boat knocked him over. The family resumed their fun holiday weekend once he quickly recovered, and no further thought was given to the incident. Later that day, Click2Houston writes that the little boy became ill. Thinking it was a stomach virus, his family hoped he would sleep it off. Tragically, Frankie suddenly woke up and went into cardiac arrest. Doctors were unable to revive him, citing “dry drowning” as the probable cause of death.

The vice chair of pediatrics at Providence Saint John’s Health Center, Dr. Danelle Fisher, explained to Parenting.com that dry drowning is “drowning from fluid in the lungs that occurs not during submersion in water, but up to 24 hours after swimming or bathing, defines secondary drowning. If the child inhales water into the lungs, the vocal cords can spasm. The drowning is defined ‘dry’ because it occurs out of the water.”

Knowing if your child inhaled water can be difficult since kids are always splashing around and getting water in their mouths without a care in the world. Parents can pay attention for warning signs after their child gets out of the water like fever, extreme tiredness, cough, chest pain, vomiting, labored breathing and even mood change. If dry drowning is suspected, a trip to the ER is needed ASAP.