What is Dry Drowning?

Friday, November 3, 2017

What is Dry Drowning? 

Dry drowning is a condition that occurs when an individual inhales water and causes his or her vocal cords to spasm, which can make it very difficult to breathe. It is not the same as secondary drowning, which is a serious condition that occurs when water enters the lungs. Both conditions can be very serious and in some cases, deadly. The term “dry drowning” describes where this condition occurs – on dry land, rather than in the water – and what it does to the body, which is similar to what happens when a victim drowns in the water.

Who is At Risk of Dry Drowning?

Anybody who inhales water is at risk of dry drowning. Children are especially susceptible to this condition because they can easily enter water that is too deep or too rough for them to keep their heads above water.

Symptoms of Dry Drowning

When an individual experiences dry drowning, his or her brain is deprived of oxygen. This can cause the victim to become irritable and fatigued. Other symptoms of dry drowning include:

  • Difficulty breathing;

  • Vomiting;

  • Chest pain; and

  • Coughing.

The most effective way to prevent dry drowning in children is to supervise them at all times in and around the water. If you own a pool, build a fence around the pool and keep it locked at all times when it is not in use. If you have young children, enroll them in water safety and swimming classes so they can learn how to keep themselves safe in the water.

What to Do When a Victim is Dry Drowning

If you notice one or more of the above symptoms in your child after he or she gets out of the water, call his or her pediatrician and describe the symptoms your child is experiencing. The pediatrician might recommend taking the child into his or her office, to the ER, or to an urgent care center. Although it is extremely rare for a child to die from the effects of dry drowning, it can happen.

If you cannot reach your child’s pediatrician, call 911 or head to the nearest hospital or urgent care center. Do this if your child is struggling to breathe.

Dry drowning can affect adults as well. If you or another adult suffers the symptoms above, take these steps to secure appropriate treatment.

Work with Draper Law Office to Pursue your Dry Drowning Personal Injury Claim

If you or your child have suffered financial damages related to a dry drowning incident that could have been prevented if a pool owner or another party had taken greater care, you could be entitled to recover monetary compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. To learn more, visit Draper Law Office online or call us at (866) 767-4711 today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our team.


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I was referred to Draper Law by my father in-law after being hit from behind in an auto accident. I didn't realize, at the time, what an important decision I was making by hiring a personal injury attorney to represent me. Charles Draper took the time to explain the process and what I could expect. His professional team was there for me every step of the way through a long, and often complicated, legal experience. I just want to express my sincerest gratitude for all the efforts that were taken by Charlie and his team on my behalf in obtaining a settlement on my case.