Summer Dangers – Did you know there are Several Types of Drowning?

by Nick Wilkinson

 DrowningDrowning is a serious & fatal issue. In this article I want to talk about drowning and the different types that may occur during normal summer time recreation at the pool or other swimming spots. Drowning is the second most common cause of death in children in the United States and should be treated seriously at all times.

Almost all parents are familiar with the concepts of simple and basic drowning. Parents know to be watchful and always observe their children while around water to prevent accidents from happening, but today I want to talk about two different variations: Delayed Drowning and Dry Drowning.
Dry Drowning

Dry Drowning is responsible for about ten to fifteen percent of all drowning deaths.

There are approximately 4,000 victims in the United States each year.

That means Dry Drowning kills about 400 to 600 U.S. victims a year.

Dry Drowning deaths do not usually have water or other liquids in the lungs.

While still unclear about the root causes is there are two theories on what causes Dry Drowning.

First, is that a quick rush of water into the throat causes the airway to snap shut, known as a Laryngospasm.

During which, although no water gets into the lungs, no air gets in either and so the victim dies of asphyxiation.

The second explanation is that the shock of suddenly entering extremely cold water causes the heart to stop and cause cardiac arrest in the swimmer.


To prevent Dry Drowning, keep your mouth closed when jumping or diving into water, protecting the larynx from a sudden rush of water that could cause it to spasm and cut off the airway.

Do not dive or jump into extremely cold water. Enter cold water slowly and with caution.

If you have a history of cardiac conditions or issues you should take special care and avoid entering very cold water at all, even if they plan to enter the water slowly.

Delayed (Secondary) Drowning :

The difference between Dry Drowning and Delayed (Secondary) Drowning is the presence of water or liquid in the lungs.

This happens when someone inhales water during play and can become an issue even hours after leaving the pool.

Water or liquid in the lungs prevents the organs from carrying oxygen into the bloodstream.

Over a short period of time can cause oxygen deprivation to the brain and eventually death.


Parents can watch for signs of Delayed Drowning by keeping a very close eye on any child who has come out of the water coughing and sputtering.

These are signs that water has been inhaled.

Keep an eye out for difficulty breathing, unusual tiredness, or changes in overall behavior.

All of these are signs that the child may have inhaled a dangerous amount of fluid.

If you notice these signs in a child that has come up coughing or spitting out water, the safe bet is to take the victim to an emergency room for medical evaluation & possible treatment.

Final Thoughts Regarding Drowning.

It’s often thought that drowning victims will wave about wildly as they are slip under the surface of the water.

There is also a myth that a swimmer goes down three times first.

Drowning typically happens silently with the victim quietly passing away unnoticed as family are nearby.

Never mistake a lack of commotion for a sign that everything is OK.

Keep your eyes on those you’re supposed to be watching rather than trust that they will shout or do something to alert you in case of an emergency.

Additional information can be found at

Nick Wilkinson –