May 26th, 2014 by Jacqui Blanton

Secondary Drowning

Despite all the research I’ve been doing on water safety this month, it wasn’t until recently that I heard of secondary drowning. And I can’t believe it! This is a phenomenon that everyone who has kids or spends time around them needs to know.

I first heard about it when a link popped up on my news feed about it, I clicked the link and it led be to an article on The article was written by Lindsay Kujawa and chronicles her recent experience with secondary drowning.

On that fateful day, her son, Ronin, was sitting on a step playing. Lindsay turned away less than 5 seconds and when she looked back he was gone.

She pulled him out out of the pool ASAP and he looked fine, just exhausted.

When they went home though, Ronin didn’t seem like himself. She called his pediatrician who said to take him to the ER immediately.

At the hospital, they took a chest x-ray which showed little Ronin’s lungs aspirated (he had water trapped in his lungs) .

Thankfully he recuperated and tragedy was avoided. Because of this near tragedy however, Lindsay and now you and I all know about secondary drowning.

Secondary drowning occurs when the victim has fluid in their lungs. Even if it’s a small amount of water it can cause major problems.

That small amount of fluid can fill the pores which means it reduces the lungs ability to oxygenate blood as it passes through. Which means that slowly but surely, the oxygen level in the blood will drop.

It is almost impossible to detect, but there are a few signs. The main ones are a sudden change in personality or energy level.

Secondary drowning can be treated, but it must be done quickly. If a child has a near drowning experience, keep an eye on them. Watch for a sudden change in personality or energy level. If you notice these changes, rush them to the ER. It could save their life.