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A Horrible Tragedy from “Dry Drowning”

Posted Oct 03 2008 12:51pm

I had never before heard of the phrase “dry drowning,” but after reading this article, I’ll never forget what it is. In addition, I plan on telling everyone I know about it, so that parents can be aware that if a child ingests water that gets into the lungs, they are not safe just because they appear to have recovered. From the article:

According to the latest figures, about 3,600 Americans died from drowning in 2005, said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including a small percentage that die up to 24 hours later because of water entering the respiratory system. A not insignificant number of the victims are children who died after having a bath.

I feel so awful for the mother, who must be killing herself over this, even though most everyone would have responded about the same way. What a horrible, horrible thing. And I realize people don’t want to over-react either, and take their child to the emergency room after every time the child swallows a gulp of water. However, the idea that someone can still be in danger of drowning after being able to walk and talk is simply shocking.  This reminds of an article I read a few months ago (I don't recall where) about a toddler that had inhaled sand in his sand box.  His parents realized what had happened, got him to the hospital, and yet they still couldn't do anything for him.  I suppose these incidents impact me on such a visceral level because they seem to be the result of such innocent, everyday activities.  When kids can die playing in a sand box, it's a reminder of how little control we actually have. 

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