I have three little children and all of them have loved the bath! Bath’s can be relaxing and a lot of fun for babies! However, baths can be quite dangerous if you take your eyes off your baby for even one second. Accidents can even happen while you are staring right at them! You could be watching your child and BAM their face goes right into the water and then take a big gulp. Should you be concerned that your baby swallowed the bath water?
What is Dry and Secondary Drowning Drowning?
Dry and Secondary drowning are terms used to describe drowning that can happen from inhaling water. Inhaling water can happen while in pools, lakes, bathtubs, or even drinking water out of a cup. It can happen anytime your child is exposed to any water source.
Dry drowning is when the water never goes to the lungs, but into the vocal cords. The vocal cords will begin to spasm and close up. Airways will slowly close and cause your child to die.
Secondary drowning is when water gets into the lungs. The water irritates the lungs’ lining and fluid can build up, causing a condition called pulmonary edema.
What are the Symptoms of Dry Drowning?
If you child is suffering from dry drowning they should show symptoms within hours of being in the water. Some for the symptoms that you should look out for if you are concerned about dry and secondary drowning include:
- Chest Pain
- Trouble Breathing
- Feeling Extremely Tired
If your baby is crying a lot, coughing, and is wheezing, then they may be suffering from some type of issue. If your child is old enough to speak, try to communicate with them about their discomforts. If they complain about chest pain after they went swimming then your child might have dry. or secondary drowning.
What Should You do if Your Child Has Dry Drowning?
Please stop googling, “what should I do if my baby has dry drowning?” I understand that you don’t want to overreact, but right when you believe that your child might actually be suffering from dry drowning then you NEED to go to the hospital! Googling whether or not you should go to the hospital might be the reason that your child dies from dry drowning.
Some of the cases that involve children dying from dry and secondary drowning died 5-7 days after they inhaled the water. Most parents suspected their children just had the stomach bug and that they would recover on their own at home. If you suspect your child may have something more serious then you shouldn’t wait!
There is absolutely nothing that you can do at home to treat your child of dry drowning. The ONLY method to save your child is by going to the ER and obtaining a chest X-Ray, getting an IV, and then being monitored for any signs of respiratory distress. There are not any “at home remedies.”
Should You be Concerned if Your Baby Swallowed the Bath Water?
I never understood worry until I became a mother. I never understood why my mother was always so annoyingly worried about me until I held my own baby in my arms. That is when I realized that I was going to be an “annoying” worry wart just like my mama. It is normal for mothers to worry, but excessive worrying might be a sign of postpartum depression.
It is completely normal to be worried about your child when they accidently fall into the bath water. I remember when my oldest had his first face plant in the water. I stared at that baby for hours and even made him sleep in our bed, because I was terrified that he was going to suffer from dry drowning. I thought I would wake up to him not breathing anymore.
I started doing research the next morning about dry drowning and I realized how uncommon dry drowning really was and how it’s something you need to have knowledge about, but not stress about.
Dry Drowning (or secondary drowning) only make up 1%-2% of all drownings each year. Pediatrician James Orlowski, MD, says, “dry drowning is very rare.”
As a mother I know it is easy to instantly think the worst thing possible when your baby starts having these symptoms. You have to remember that there could be many reasons why your child is coughing and there may be many reasons why your young baby is sleeping a lot. You don’t have to automatically assume that your child has dry drowning.
It is important to understand the symptoms of dry drownings, so if your child is the 1% then you will be able to act quickly and be able to get the proper help that your baby needs in order to survive the rare condition. However, it’s not something that should cause you to avoid water. Stop fretting. Your baby is most likely fine. Don’t be scared. Stay aware.
Bath Safety Tips
You may think that you can leave your child in the bath alone, because they are old enough to sit up and the bath water is very low. Did you know that children up to 5 are in danger of drowning in bath water that is only 2 inches deep? It doesn’t take a lot of water, or a young baby to be a safety risk to the bath.
There are many ways that you can prevent anything dangerous happening to your child. Some tips to keep your child safe include:
- Grab all bath items before putting child in bath (towels, soaps, toys, etc). You don’t want to leave your baby at any time during the bath!
- Never leave a child under 3 alone in the bath.
- If your child appears sleepy do not give them a bath.
- Put baby in a bathtub support until they are old enough to control their body.
- Pay attention to them. Don’t get distracted by things (cell phones, tablets, televisions, other children).
You can also teach your baby to learn how to swim. Research shows that babies can learn how to swim and save themselves in the event of an accident in the water as early as 6 months old. Many places will teach survival swimming to young babies in the event that they get into a pool, or other body of water without supervision.
Every parent should know the causes and symptoms of dry and secondary drowning. Parents should be aware that if they notice their child has swallowed some water they need to focus on their symptoms and make sure their child never experiences any type of breathing or respiratory difficulties.
Although parents should be educated on post-drowning symptoms they shouldn’t worry about it too much. Dry and Secondary drowning incidents are very rare and only happen to 1% of all of the drownings each year.Avoid dry drowning by constantly monitor your child around the water and if they accidentally choke on water monitor them closely for a few hours after.