Secondary Drowning + My Recent Experience & Real Life Almost Nightmare

Tuesday, May 20, 2014



This video has nothing to do with this post other than the fact that I must have watched it at least a hundred times over the past weekend while we waited.  And I love how Ronin gives me the "Mom you are so over the top and it's annoying" look at the end.  

Over the weekend I experienced one of the worst things since becoming a mother.  It was a moment where once the shock set in as to what might actually happen a thousand memories, regrets...things that I wish I had done differently that day flashed through my mind.

I tend to hesitate when it comes to sharing super personal experiences on the blog since I like to keep some areas of my life private but this particular event I decided that it was best to share, even though it made me feel like the worst mom in the world.  I felt like bringing awareness to what happened may prevent something from happening like this to you.

Here is the story:

It was a pretty normal Saturday (or so I thought).  We woke up early, Ian and I made coffee and we had our weekend family tradition of scrambled eggs. We played in the backyard and then Ronin and I headed off to Target to pick up the usual necessities.  On our way home I ran over a nail and got a flat tire. Major bummer.  2 hours later we finally got the spare on.  At this point it was 2:30 in the afternoon and we were supposed to be at my niece's birthday party at 3.  Somehow I made it home in time to shower, get the kids swim trunks on and get them all sun screened up.  We made it to the party at 3:30.  It was a pool party so all the cousins were in the pool, jumping around splashing and having a great time.  All the adults were also all outside sitting around and enjoying the nice weather.  I was watching Ronin who was sitting on the big step on the spa, where he had basically stayed put since entering the pool area.

Here is where everything went all wrong... I was sitting right on the edge of the outside of the spa, just a few inches from where Ronin was playing.  I shifted my sitting position to talk to my sister-in-law.  I turned around for maybe 5 seconds tops. I turned back around to take a peek at Ronin and he was not on the step. Mom panic and fear kicked into overdrive.  I frantically scanned the spa and saw him being whirled by the jets to the other end of the spa where his little head was bobbing up and down trying desperately to get air. I pulled him out as fast as I possibly could.  The whole ordeal was  around 20 seconds from when he fell into the water until when I got him out.  Other than Ronin being visibly upset and coughing to get the water out he seemed totally fine after he had calmed down.  I am the most over the top over paranoid mom ever and I was so mad at myself that this happened literally inches away from me!  He did seem more tired than usual after it happened but I figured he was exhausted from what just occurred combined with all the heat and exercise he had had for the last few hours.  We left the party soon after.

At home Ronin just didn't seem like himself.  It could have just been chalked up to him being overly tired but I felt in my gut that it was something else.  He also started doing this weird cough that made him tense up every time he exerted the effort.  I wondered maybe he was still just trying to cough up any water from earlier.  I called my pediatrician and left her a brief message explaining what had happened and what his symptoms were at the moment.  A few minutes later (that was quick I thought as I answered the phone) she called me back.  Now Ronin's pediatrician is usually pretty calm.  And most of the time when I phone her for an "emergency" she says everything is going to be fine and gives me a list of symptoms to watch for and tells me if my kids get worse then to bring them in to be seen.  Her motto is if it's not too serious then it is better to care for my boys at home rather than bringing them to the ER where they are exposed to all kinds of sicknesses.  This time was different. She was stern and said I needed to take Ronin to the ER NOW because he could be experiencing scary after effects of his near drowning incident (secondary drowning).  You can read more about what that is here and here.  I hung up and we all rushed to the ER.  The nurses immediately brought us back.  Within moments the Dr was in.  He got my story again and in a scolding tone asked me why I didn't bring him in sooner.  I told him that right after it happened he seemed totally fine.  I told him he was breathing normal and gave no signs that he was in distress.  He did not like my answer and knowing what I do know now, I don't blame him.  They took Ronin's temp and it was 101.  So weird since he was definitely not sick that day.

The doctor ordered an immediate chest x-ray along with a whole list of blood tests.  At this point in the evening Ronin was acting limp and almost unresponsive.  Once the results were in the doctor came in with the update.  His facial expression did not look like it was going to give good news.  He said Ronin's blood work came back normal (that's good I thought!) but....the chest x-rays were not good.  He said his lungs aspirated.  Consequences of this range from no injury at all, to chemical pnuemonitis (from the chemicals in the spa), to death within minutes from asphyxiation.  He said at this point it was very serious and he needed to be ambulanced immediately down to Children's Hospital in San Diego to see a Pediatric Specialist.  He said all the arrangements were already made and the doctors and team of nurses were waiting for him.  My heart crushed into a million little pieces at that moment.  I felt like it was literally getting ripped out of my chest.  This was my fault no matter how many times people were telling me it was an accident and it could have happened to anyone.

On the ambulance ride down to Children's Hospital Ronin's oxygen levels started dropping.  I watched as the little screen in front of him went from 98% to 92% to 89% to 74%.  The team on board scrambled to attach an oxygen mask over his little face.  I panicked!  They tried to keep me calm and told me he was okay but I have never felt so helpless in my life.  When we arrived at Children's hospital a pediatric specialist along with 4 nurses were waiting for us.  They brought us to our room where there was a x-ray technician waiting.  They did another chest x-ray and more blood work.  They told me at "this point" we just had to monitor Ronin and wait.  Wait for what?! They hooked him up to all kinds of machines and we waited...all night long while Ian and I watched him sleep.  On Sunday the sweetest doctor came in and talked to us.  She told me that this freak accident caused by the aftermath of a near drowning incident happens more than I might think.  She said we did the right thing of bringing Ronin in and that many times it goes terribly wrong (such as parents putting their kids down to sleep and then they never wake up again) because parents think that there kids are fine if they start breathing normally again after a near drowning event.  She also told us that there were 2 other little boys on the same floor as Ronin who were also there for the same exact thing!

She said she was very pleased because the latest x-ray had shown that the water trapped in his lungs was beginning to clear significantly.  The not so good news was that he had chemical pneumonitis due to the chemicals from the spa getting trapped in his lungs.  His lungs were irritated and inflamed but she told us that things were looking better despite the diagnosis.  At this point she said the staff will monitor him a little longer making sure a fever or other lung complications do not arise.

Ronin woke up around 10am on Sunday.  What I mean is for the first time since the incident he woke up beyond pissed off that he had all these little tubes on him, an IV in his arm and a heart beat monitor wrapped tightly around his big toe.  I have never in my life been more happy to see such a grouchy little man!  He was back and acting like his normal Ronin self.  The nurses came in because they heard him making such a commotion.  This was a great sign.

Later that day we got the news that Ronin was officially in the clear and was able to get discharged and go home. Praise God.

I am forever changed since this happened.  I will not let this define me but you can guarantee that I will be doing things much differently from here on out.  It was a huge wakeup call.  And it really taught me that yes...in just a few seconds your life can change forever.  I got a too close taste of what that really can be like.

Before Saturday I had never heard of secondary drowning.  If I had heard of it before I would have done things differently.  I would have brought him in the moment I noticed a change in his behavior even if it was just me being over paranoid or thinking he was just exhausted from the days activities.

What you need to know:

Secondary drowning can be difficult to recognize since the victim appears to be ok right after a near-drowning event.  Your child may breathe in a very small amount of water and seem like they have successfully expelled it through coughing.  In secondary drowning the water may fill up some of the oxygen rich pores of the lungs, which reduces the ability to oxygenate blood as it passes through.   The heart does not slow down significantly with this process but rather very very slowly so your child will still be able to talk and walk.  The only symptoms may be a sudden change in personality or level of awareness (just like Ronin experienced) as the blood oxygen level drops over time.

So if your child has experienced a near drowning experience (it can happen in as little water as a puddle or in the bathtub) watch for a sudden change of personality or energy level.  You can save your child's life if you act quickly and get them medical treatment immediately.

I hope this brings awareness to all who read this.  I am so thankful that Ronin is okay and that I decided to not put him to bed that night thinking everything was fine.  I have said many many thank you prayers over the past few days for that.  I want to make sure this never happens to another child so pass this on and please share with those who you think might need to know.

306 comments:

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modern.chic. inspired. said...

Thank you for sharing and educating us all, I had no idea this was possible. The same thing happened to my daughter last weekend. She lost her step and fell into the middle of the hot tub. Fortunately I grabbed her immediately, but I will never ever let that happen again, especially now that I know of secondary drowning. You are brave to share your experience and blessed that Ronin is ok. We will all be more watchful, thank you for sharing such valuable information!

Cherilyn said...

I have never heard of this! Thanks for sharing! I'm glad your little guy is ok.

Anonymous said...

After reading your story, l must say" thank goodness for the internet and FB". If it wasn't for those two things,your story would not of reached thousands of others. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing such an emotional & personal experience. Please be proud... you may have already saved a great number of children this summer. I will most definitely pass this onto my daughter... they have 3 children and two of them are very active out doorsey boys ages 4 & 5. They just moved to a water front property (you litterly walk out the back door and the water smacks you in the face) anyway my 5 yr old grandson told me his little brother fell in the lake and he had to jump in "to save him". My daughter said she just turned her head for a quick second and the next thing she new both her baby boys were in the water. Thank god they both were ok. I believe your story will help parents and grandparents be a little more aware and cautious around the water. Many Blessing to you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing and the information on secondary drowning, your bravery in sharing will most likely save the lives of others. I am glad that your son was alright!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this. I am a competitive swimmer and I can't even say how many times when I was younger I inhaled a lot of water.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing! I had never ever heard about secondary drowning either. I am truly glad that everything was OK in the end for you.

RobinMC said...

Thank God! may I say how impressed I am that you accept responsibility? I am the same type of mom. So many accidents can be prevented. Yes, it only takes a few seconds, yes, it can happen to any of us. But so many children are injured or die from completely preventable things and that is tragic. I am not a helicopter mom, I'm an Apache Helicopter Mom. My kids are 24, 18 and 13, and contrary to popular belief, having a protective mom is not fatal to your social life, your personality or your ability to be tough, cope, or whatever. My oldest, the total daredevil is a living testament to that! He may do extreme things like caving, but he does so with every precaution. God Bless You and your family. Do not allow anyone to make you question your protective instincts.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story. A mother from another blog/group I follow shared your story as a reminder to all of us to keep a close watch on our kids. I can't imagine how scary this was for all of you.

Anonymous said...

Oh Honey! You are a good mom and he's lucky to have you. It's hard right now, but time will make this less horrible of a memory. Try to focus on the people who were kind, like the doctor, and know that we all look away from our kids sometimes. You just had bad luck for those few seconds. No child will ever be safer around the water than your child from now on. You are a great mom!

Unknown said...

How scary I have never heard of this either. thanks for sharing.

Melissa said...

Again, thanks for sharing your story so the rest of us can learn about something we hadn't heard about. So glad your babe is fine.

Melissa said...

Again, thanks for sharing your story so the rest of us can learn about something we hadn't heard about. So glad your babe is fine.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I am an infant swimming resource instructor in Florida. We dedicate ourselves to preventing this type of scenario and worse. The scene you described where you turned your back for 5 seconds is exactly how this and actual drowning occur many many times. It is not that you have bad or inattentive parents... its that a child can drown in 30 seconds, right next to you, silently. An ISR instructor goes through extensive training to teach children as young as 6 months old to turn over and float on their back should they find themselves in the water. If you go to infantswim.com you can put in your area code and see if there is an instructor near you.

Ashley P. said...

Oh my goodness, I cannot imagine. Thankfully you called your ped.

Anonymous said...

Wow... I had no idea. I had never heard of secondary drowning. I am planning to spend most of my summer with my 6 and 3 year old at the pool, and am so glad to know about this. You have probably saved a kid's life by sharing this. I am so glad your son is ok and so thankful you shared!

Anonymous said...

Ronin? Ugh! A lot of bad connotations with that name. One is that it actually means samurai without a master which is dishonorable despite the fact that over time people have tried to change it to be "independent & determined". Sounds kind of pagan too.

Michelle C said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. I cannot imagine the emotions you felt at that moment or as you wrote this post. Please know that this could have happened to anyone and I agree with every other comment that you are a great mom and could possibly save someone else by sharing your experience. I will pray that the peace of God will flood you whenever Satan wants to sneak in with 'bad mommy' feelings.

and for my next life. . . said...

You are a tremendous person. My daughter sent this post to me this morning. Who knows how many lives you will have saved? Thank you.

Dawn said...

I am a nurse, and still had no idea about this. Already shared on Facebook, and will also share on my blog, because this is important information.

The Friendship Club said...

Thank you for sharing this invaluable information!

Ranjana said...

thank you for posting your experience....it must be very hard to relive this but appreciated. I am grand mother and will let mychildren know about it. Our prayer and love to Renin.

Anonymous said...

a toddler in our neighborhood died a few years ago from secondary drowning …..mom put her down for nap after they got back from a pool ….prior to that i have never heard of such thing …..glad your little boy is well

Paula said...

Thank you for being authentic! We are not perfect, just parents. Thank you God, for this miracle. Please let it prevent any future incidents.

Amy R said...

I have had quite a few conversations with my sons, daughter-in-law, niece -- all lifeguards who have fished many children, and adults out of the pools they work at...and I had never heard of this either. Thank you so much for sharing.

Unknown said...

I am glad that you were blessed and Ronin is well. My son had a near drowning incident he lived for 9 months with severe brain damage and passed away when he was 2.Your absolutely right about your life changing in seconds. I know that the safety of your children is much more aware now because I am like that with my daughter even at 16. I have much respect for the little things. I wish many blessings for you and Ronin and family.

Unknown said...

I am so happy to hear Ronin is OK. I have experienced what a drowning can do to you and your lives in such little time. My son had a near drowning incident and lived for 9 months with severe brain damage until he passed away at age 2. I have become aware of how fast things can change around you. I know you are much more cautious about the things around that can go wrong with your children. I am with mine even at 16. I wish much happiness and blessings for you and your family. Enjoy the blessing God has given to you and love with all of you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing and I'm glad your little guy is ok.

Unknown said...

I would have done the exact same thing, I had never heard of that before and I am so glad I read this! I am taking my 3 year old to the pool tomorrow! Thank you!

Zim said...

Thank God that Ronin has such a great mamma! Hats off to you and I have never heard of Secondary Drowning before. It's so scary that I don't wanna get into the water any more! :O

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing this story - I had never heard of secondary drowning and I have been around for 65 yrs. I will share and spread the word - my daughter sent your message to me and she will absolutely be telling all the mothers that she knows. I am really happy that Ronin recovered well due to your mother's intuition that all was not well.
It is hard not to blame oneself when our children get hurt or suffer but you absolutely cannot blame yourself - things happen so quickly and you are only human. Instead of thinking about being to blame tell yourself that you acted swiftly and saved his life as soon as you felt all was not right with Ronin - because by doing that you did save his life. I hope you feel better soon.

melissa @ my whole food life said...

OMG I am so sorry you had to go through all that. I would be a mess. I am so happy that things worked out in the end. Thank you for sharing your story. I have a pool and 2 small children, so this is a constant fear.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Scary Momma moment! All praises to God Ronin is okay! I have NEVER heard of secondary drowning, thank you for sharing! And your story tells me that I did the right thing with my eight year old over all those fussy times when she didn't want the life jacket on and I insisted....near ANY body of water save the tub where I was with her all the time. Still....just....wow!

Anonymous said...

Although I know this was hard to share, thank you for taking the time to do so. It shows just what a wonderful mother & person you are. Many lives will possibly be saved because you chose to share & if nothing more, you shared some valuable information, that I for one knew nothing about & I have a pool & 3 kids & we've enjoyed it for 21 years & I've never heard of secondary drowing. I'm so grateful that we've never experienced anything like this & I now know this information, if anything like this were to happen. I am so happy your little one is okay. God bless you! You are a very good mother!

Bridget said...

lindsay! i read this with my eyes wide the entire time. i am so so so so so glad everything is okay with little ronin. cannot BEGIN to imagine the pain and trauma that day brought for you. i think the first time i heard about secondary drowning was the oprah show (miss you oprah!) and have been a little freaked out about it ever since. this was a good reminder. thanking the heavens that everything ended up just fine for you guys but so sad you had to endure such a scary time. they affect us moms for a very long time. xoxo sweet ronin!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing. This post will save many lives.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for sharing, I am so happy to hear that your son is well and the nightmare is over. I can't even imagine, well I guess I can because I'm a mamma too! So bless you and your sweet little guy, this was a great share for awareness.
p.s. you are a GREAT mama, we never got an instruction manual, you are a hero!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, brave mommy!

Crystal @ Sew Creative said...

Wow! Good for you for listening to your gut. I'm so glad that Ronin is OK. Sharing this on my facebook page as I too have never heard of secondary drowning and I'm sure many of my friends haven't either.

grandma jojo said...

Thank you for being so open & honest. By doing so you have probably saved lives. Bless you.

Unknown said...

I had heard of it because of Oprah of all things. Needless to say when my son had a near drowning experience I couldn't get to the hospital fast enough... Was a stressful 2 hours for sure (we were at a farm when it happened). Luckily my son was ok. Good to hear your son is also doing well. As for the experience I'm not sure I'll ever get over it...

Elva Roberts said...

Thank you for sharing this personal story of your child. You have probably saved many lives by revealing your very real near tragedy. I did not realize that there was such a thing as secondary drowning and \i doubt that many people do know about it. I was a swimmer and took classes and never heard about it until your post. Hugs and thank you so much for your courage in making your experience public so other parents might know that this is possible and so avoid a tragedy.

CC said...

Thank you so much, this is incredibly important to get the word out. We had a scare like this with my 2-year old daughter last summer. I had heard of secondary drowning also called "dry drowning," so I was aware of it, and I monitored her and my intuition told me she was OK. Still I took her to the Dr. the next day (which I see now would have been too late.) The Dr. checked her out and she was fine. I should add that after I explained what had happened and what I was afraid of, The Pediatrician had NEVER heard of this term and looked it up on the computer in front of me.

Anonymous said...

I , too,..have never heard of this. I will be sharing. Bodies of water scare me to death for little ones. We had a pool for years...we did have some close calls. Your eyes have to be scanning constantly around the water...no matter the ages. It's so much responsibility You are a great writer and a wonderful mother. So happy your boy is just fine. This incident will never happen again. <3 He's a cutie !!!!

Iamamylou said...

@Plain Jane...No, this was a true secondary/delayed drowning. In a dry drowning the victim does not have any water in the lungs.

iLa said...

Thanks for sharing this experience! We had a scary experience too jsut a few days ago (our 20 moths old son had a severe allergic reaction) and one feels so hopeless, not being able to help your kid. I did not know about secondary drawning and I am grate to have read your story!
All the best to all of you!

Anonymous said...

this is something all mother, grandparents and child care givers. Im posting for all my family that now have little ones. Watch them closely!!!

Kelli Girsch said...

Thank you for the informative post!!! Thankfully all is well with your child now.

Zoey said...

Never heard of secondary drowning, so thank you for posting publicly so that others will be saved. So glad your little boy is doing better and that your prayers were answered!

Anonymous said...

First, I want to say, thank goodness your boy is okay. I'd never heard of this either and I am so glad to get this info, not for my kids (yes, I am a good mother and no I don't want my kids to drown) but for myself! I've nearly drowned 9 times since I was 5 years old and to my shame, 5 of those times was in the bath/shower. I'd cough and cough for at least an hour afterwards, then figured I was finally okay and take a nap 'cause all the coughing was tiring and the whole incident was traumatizing and everything just plum wore me out. Now I see how TOTALLY WRONG it was to go to sleep.

Anonymous said...

I performed CPR on my 4-year old (he's 15 this year) when my friend fished him out of the water. He was almost blue by then. It was mommy's instinct that I did the CPR (only saw how people did it on TV!) and brought him to the hospital immediately thereafter. In the car to the hospital I kinda tapped him gently on the cheek to prevent him from dozing off (didn't know that would have been useful until I read this). Lessons: Never leave your child alone, even with a pail of water and learn proper life-saving skills eg. CPR. You never know when you will use them...in my case, again.

Anonymous said...

I was crying reading your post because I realised what could have happened to us 3 months ago ... I would never forget the image of my daughter (3 and half years old) bubbling just below the surface of the water trying to get air. It was just a few secs, my husband rescued her in 2-3 seconds! She was fine but I was shocked, the entire day and until the end of holidays. We were lucky it was not secondary drawning ... we were in a island in the middle of indian ocean, I doubt we could have really saved her.
Thanks for this very important information

Alisha said...

I can't thank you enough for sharing this! I had no idea it existed and wouldn't have known what to watch for. So happy to hear your little boy is OK. Thanks again!

Jeanie said...

What a nightmare for you and your family. I'm so glad Ronin's okay now. Thank you for sharing your story.

Heather said...

Thank you so much for letting us know about this !

Carrie said...

I know that a lot of swim instructors are not a fan of the puddle jumpers but I love them. My 3 yearold is a dare devil, squirming out of my arms any chance she gets. I can not take my eyes off of her for a second at the pool. I use that as a back up ( they are coast guard certified). I think that if you have a non swimmer, using an approved floatations device is important along with supervision.

Anonymous said...

thank you for sharing your story/ I wouldn't have had a clue about secondary drowning! Thank you again, i'm sure stories like this save lives and it's brave people like you who share these things that do that :)

Jenmarie said...

I have never heard of secondary drowning before! Thank you for sharing your story!

Stephanie @ Henry Happened said...

Lindsay - my aunt sent me a link to this post, and it stole my breath when I saw the name. I am so, so, so glad Ronin is okay and you are the wonderful mother you are to have saved his life. Thank you for sharing your story & big hug to you and your beautiful family.

Unknown said...

So So glad that he is ok, thanks to you being so perceptive in your child's behaviour patterns. God is Good.

Unknown said...

So glad that he is ok thanks to your being so perceptive of your child's behaviour pattern. Just thanking God that he and your family is well.

Erin @ Love, the Campbells said...

I shared this story with all my momma friends in hopes that EVERYONE will be aware of this. I'm so thankful that you and your sweet dear baby are okay. Please know you have support and we are praying our little hearts ot in blogland for you guys.
xoxo

sloaner214 said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I have seen it shared on FB dozens of times now. I am positive that you will have saved the lives for your courage in sharing. You are a rockstar mom.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing your story. Have you heard of survival swimming? It's a swimming course for infants/children that teaches them to survive in the water if they should fall in or whatever. They learn how to react and are taught to swim/float fully clothed. It's an amazing thing for someone with a pool and small children. So glad your son is doing well!

Adrie Little said...

Thank you! I work at a Summer Camp, and I've shared this with our lifeguard coordinator!

Anonymous said...

I will share your story. I too had a scary incident with my son when he was almost 3. We were sitting on the shore of the pond talking and my son was standing beside me playing in the water...my feet were in the water and he was right next to me. The person moved beside me and I turned my head to speak to them. When I glanced over to the left, the side my son was on; he was floating face down in the water! My mind said, oh, he's swimming and I instantly lunged forward saying to myself, "He CANNOT swim!" I grabbed him and pulled him out and he was not upset or sputtering at all. I tried to stay calm and speak to him and was so surprised he was not coughing or anything. He must have only been face down in the water a few seconds, but he wasn't struggling when I saw him, just floating rather still. I asked him later what he was doing and he said he was breathing the water...I'll never know if he was holding his breath or what. Another incident with a friend's daughter who was about the same age....she fell getting into a concrete kiddy wading pool. The water was only to her waist, my knees, but she fell back under the water looking up. I ran to her and as I was reaching to pull her out, she was laying under water, eyes open and still and calm. It was so bizarre...her mom freaked out, but she was fine...again no coughing or anything, and no water taken in during the few seconds she was under. It's almost like a natural instinct the kids had to not panic or breathe under the water. Both incidents taught me to ALWAYS keep my eyes on a child who cannot swim when near the water and for the very young, to be within arm's reach. Drowning is said to be the silent death or silent killer, b/c once under the water, you cannot hear them struggling or see them in most cases. Blessings to all as summer is near. P

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this story...hopefully secondary drowning can be covered in the media too since most people have never heard of it. I also wanted to share a story about a time when my children were in a pool with us. My younger son could not swim and was wearing a life jacket and my older son could swim, but was not a very strong swimmer, so we were staying close to them. I got out to get something and my husband was in the pool still. I looked over at them and saw the game was out of hand as my younger son was unknowingly almost drowning his older brother by pushing down on his shoulders and keeping his head under water. He, nor my husband noticed b/c they were playing some silly game. I yelled over and jumped in to stop it and retrieve my older son, who was quite upset about the whole thing! This is a big problem with water, you cannot hear the struggles of people who are under the water. I also really discourage this type of rough water play that has any chance of someone going under and getting hurt. My same older son almost drowned at swimming lessons one time. It was a holiday and not all the kids were there, so they let some staff go. The Jr lifeguards were chatting on the bench and one older lifeguard/ instructor was in the water with the kids. They were to swim with a noodle to the middle and back to the edge. Some kids could already swim and were duck diving in and out of the water. My son could not swim and lost his pool noodle. With all the commotion, no one saw him and he was trying his best to swim to the edge and his head was starting to go under. Luckily I was there watching, b/c it was a holiday, and I jumped up to reach for him and he made it safely to the edge. I later learned that b/c he couldn't swim, he was suppose to be wearing a red bracelet so the instructors knew to handle him differently. Always tell your kids to only do what they feel safe doing too...they wanted him to jump off the diving board at the same camp! Other camps we've attended taught water safety and showed kids what to do if you fall in a pool or water. There are even lessons for babies in this regard. Water is too beautiful to be afraid of it, but it must be cared for and respected. Families need to advocate for affordable or free swimming lessons for all! <3 P

Specialty Costume fan said...

My son is named Ronin too! He's 8. Thank you for sharing your story. So scary! I'm happy to hear your son is OK.

Anonymous said...

As a Mom, I can't imagine what you must have felt, gone through, experienced. However, I'm glad you shared this. I hear about these stories, these fears on a regular basis. I teach a program called ISR (Infant Swimming Resource TM). Not only does it teach babies and toddlers (6 months to 6 years of age) how to survive and rescue themselves, one of the safety priorities is breath control when they feel water on their face (for them to learn to close their mouth). Sadly, this program is mostly word of mouth although it's been around for over 45 years. I hear from parents all the time how they wished they knew about ISR earlier. We hear of these sad and scary stories, but rarely are we given the tools of programs such as ISR to help prevent these from happening. Nothing replaces supervision, but I just wanted to share that there are programs such as ISR as one more safety net. To find a local instructor, just type in your zipcode to www.infantswim.com. Again, I thank you for sharing your story and that it ended up with your son alive.

Anonymous said...

I read this post last week with tears in my eyes but today I smiled when I saw it had been picked up by yahoo! because of your willingness to share your story many people will have an increased awareness of secondary drowning. You should be SO PROUD!
What a magnificent thing you have done!

Anonymous said...

While small children are definitely more at risk, this phenomenon can occur in older children and adults as well. Thanks for sharing your story so that others know not to ignore an incident such as Ronin's. <3

Anonymous said...

Thank you for making us all aware. We are so happy that Ron in is well again. It makes us more careful of our little ones.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for making us all aware. We are so happy that Ron in is well again. It makes us more careful of our little ones.

Andrea said...

Wow- Never heard of that... I don't have kids but very good to know for when I do.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for sharing! Melissa from 320 Sycamore shared this on her blog. I have 7 children 17 down to 11 mos. I also have never heard of this. I have no doubt in my mind that you are a very mindful, careful momma. I too am like that, sometimes I question myself why I'm so "paranoid" but this just cements it for me. You are so right that your life can change in an instant. I would have thought the exact things you did and put my kids to bed. You are so wise to go with your gut. Thank you so much for sharing with all of us.

Blastkka said...

I had no idea! Thank you so much for sharing. I'm so glad Ronin is okay. God bless.

Unknown said...

That was very informative, thank you for sharing! I didn't even know this was a thing until I read your post about it!

- Esther Cotton

Unknown said...

Thank you, thank you , Thank you for sharing this. I hope never to use what I have learned, but if I do, I have you to thank. It is amazing how a parents' perspective can change due to events that occur in seconds. I am so relieved your son has recovered.

Anonymous said...

We had a very similar incident when our son was about 2 years old. He tripped and fell into the water while wading in the kiddie pool. I picked him up immediately - less than a second. Was not sure what to expect but kept an eye on him afterwards. He became quiet at around 6 pm and really lethargic at 9 pm. Doctors in the ER dismissed the secondary drowning hypothesis that I had, but could not offer any other explanation. They did a good job though. My son was under IV for 3 hours

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for sharing! I had never heard of secondary drowning. Hearing your story reiterates to me how important it is to listen to our instincts. You're a great mom and you're helping us all be great moms!

Jenny Locke said...

Thank you for sharing this. I've never heard about secondary drowning and I would have done the sMe thing you did. I'm sure by bringing awareness to this, you have saved lives!

stacy said...

One more thank you here. I KNOW as a mother how hard that was to share, but I really applaud you for doing so. I read your blog because you keep it real, and don't post only the beautiful, glossy stuff. It really helps women relate to each other better when we can all just support each other and know that we all have faults, insecurities and we all take this parenting gig day by day! Have a great weekend, and thank you again. xx

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this very private story with us! I never heard of secondary drowning before. By posting this you will definetely will have safed lifes!
Your story even spilled over to Europe, Austria!
I will share this topic on my blog too. It should reach as many people as possible!
- THANK YOU -

Charmaine said...

I'm a grandmother whom experience this same near drowning with my grandson. We spent 4 day on the hospital. The grace of God he's doing well. Thank God for your child full recovery. This post will help save lives.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this story, but let me say wow. Not only did you name your kid Ronin, you let him play in a spa tub with jets. How are you a paranoid mother, yet you do both of these things?

Aw said...

Thanks so much! All the best, you've changed someone's life I'm sure.

Beth said...

WOW! Going to share this on FB> Thank you for sharing your personal story, I have NEVER heard of this and I use to work in Respiratory in a Hospital. Sharing for all my friends with lil ones.

Unknown said...

I saved my son from a near drowning. What is also important is that when a child is succumbed by water they do not splash or struggle! It's referred to as the "silent killer" for a reason. It's the most horrific feeling in the world. Jake is now 8 years old and super healthy but even after 30 seconds in the water for a near drowning a child so young, brain damage can start in just seconds because of the lack of oxygen! These stories are so near and dear to my heart I am so glad he is ok!

Unknown said...

I saved my son from a near drowning. What is also important is that when a child is succumbed by water they do not splash or struggle! It's referred to as the "silent killer" for a reason. It's the most horrific feeling in the world. Jake is now 8 years old and super healthy but even after 30 seconds in the water for a near drowning a child so young, brain damage can start in just seconds because of the lack of oxygen! These stories are so near and dear to my heart I am so glad he is ok!

Anonymous said...

How glad I am to live in a country with a working healthcare system. I can just call the EMS if my child isn't well and - oh joy - in less than 12 minutes (even in rural areas) an ambulance with medical experts and equipment will stop in front of my door. I don't have to lose time waiting for some doctor to call back. If needed, a doctor trained in emergency medicine will arrive with flashing blue lights. I don't have to drive my child to the wrong hospital - those professionals will drive me and my child to the correct one. And should all that not be fast enough, they will call in a helicopter to air lift my child. And the best part about it: all that is covered by my health insurance. I will never see a bill.
Some people consider that evil communism. If that is so, I'm a devout communist.

pcsoresult said...

Read this in Huffington. I had never heard of secondary drowning, and I will share with all of my friends so they know what it is. This could save many lives.

The Wheeler's said...

That is seriously one of the worst moments. Just last weekend we had our kids playing in the hotel pool and my daughter had been in her tube thee whole and and I turned for one second to look at my son and my daughter slipped out of the tube and went under. I was right next to her and I felt awful for letting that happen. Luckily other than being scared nothing happened. I have never heard of secondary drowning. Im so glad our incident didn't result in that. I am so glad that yours ended positively!

Pretty. Good. Food. said...

Wow...first of all, thank GOD your baby is ok. What a horrifying experience. Second of all, thank you for sharing your story. I would have never known about "secondary drowning" Knowledge is power. I have a 6 mo old and with the summer in full swing, pools and the beach are certainly in our future. I would definitely call myself "neurotic" when it comes to his health and well being, so thank you for the information.
My prayers are with you guys. Glad everyone' ok, but certainly a scary story, nonetheless.
xo

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for sharing this! I loved hearing all the details, and it will help me to be extra aware when we have our kids and their friends in the pool this summer. I'm so glad you are bringing awareness to this! And praise God that little Ronin is ok. I will always listen to my mamma intuition!
تخزين عفش بالرياض
شركة ترميمات بالرياض
شركة دهانات بالرياض
شركة تنظيف منازل بمكة
شركة كشف تسربات المياه بجدة

Katrin said...

Thanks for that. I am well educated and check the quality of things and food that I buy for my child. But this I didn´t know!!! It could have happened to me as well. So thanks God, your intuition did not fail and thanks for telling us that story.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to let you know I had heard your story b/c this literally just happened to me this week. One of THE WORST if not THE WORST weeks of my life! My boy also was rushed to Childrens. He is totally fine but I am paranoid mode. I can't seem to let it all go and still afraid every little cough runny nose and fever he has had is him making a turn for the worse. Even though every Dr and Nurse has told me the worst has passed. Thanks for sharing our story and it does happen SO FAST!

Beth Milton said...

Thank you for sharing this. It is so important to get the word out. I just spent 3 agonizing hours at a memorial for my daughter and son's friend last night who died from dry drowning. He was 9 years old. He too was at a pool party and inhaled some water. His parents knew something was wrong as he was complaining of stomach cramps. They took him to their doctor who sent him home. They said he'd be fine. Later in the day he was still feeling ill so they took him to urgent care who also sent him home. By that evening he took a turn for the worse. His parents rushed him to the emergency room and the doctors were unable to revive him. This is such a tragedy and especially so because two sets of professionals missed the signs. His parents knew something was wrong, they just didn't know what, and no one would help them. They begged us to get the word out about dry drowning any way we could so that's why I'm sharing.

Unknown said...

I first read about secondary drowning a few years ago, in a newspaper article did not explain it well and made it seem like there was nothing you could do to spot it (kid goes swimming, kid dies). I almost stopped taking my kids to the pool after that. Thanks for this rational, factual account of what it is and what to look out for. We're going to the lake today and it always helps to be armed with the right information. You have done many moms a great service in sharing your story. Thank you.

Vivayne said...

Awareness & education is the best way to save lives. Glad you pushed through the fear & shared your experience with us. Surely it will save lives!

Ron Arendas said...

Thank you so much for posting your story. I am so happy that Ronin came out of this all right in the end. Some parents have not been as lucky as you. So many parents do just what you indicate: put the child down for a nap (that the child never recovers from!).

Your description of signs and symptoms were on target. I am not a physician, but as a former lifeguard and a lifeguard/water safety instructor/instructor-trainer, I have been aware of this condition for many years. Lifeguards need to recognize these signs and inform parents that their child may not be out of danger EVEN IF HE/SHE IS BREATHING after the incident and able to walk and talk.

Well-trained lifeguards will insist on calling emergency medical services (9-1-1, etc.) to have the child evaluated with possible transfer to the ER from the scene if the child has been unconscious underwater, has had a seizure in the water, and/or displays the signs you describe in your blog.

Your blog will save lives of other precious children, like your son. Thank you again for this incredible story.

Anonymous said...

I know you posted this a year ago. In fact, I shared it a year ago because I had never heard of Secondary Drowning. I wish I had retained more of what I read...because 3 months later, it happened to my family...but not my kids...to my 6 year old dog. After a fun day at the beach, I walked our dog and let the kids dry out and loaded everyone into the car. After a short 25 minute drive home, everyone jumped out of the car except my very sleepy dog. I picked him up and could immediately tell by his limp yet stiff body that something was very, very wrong. We rushed him to the ER where he was pronounced dead after they worked on him for less than 5 minutes. The diagnosis: Secondary Drowning. My vet said in 27 years, she had only heard of this but never actually seen it. So as you share your story with your friends and family, as well as your readers, please know that this can also happen to our pets. Our dog was only 6 and as soon as they told me the cause of his death, I thought back to this blog, that I had shared just a short three months prior. I wish I had recognized the signs..but I did not. Thank you for educating people about this--esp as summer kicks off and we spend more time in and near water. Thanks for taking the time to share.

Anonymous said...

Yes I heard about this from the Oprah show many years ago. This is so scary the mother sent her son to sleep and he never woke up....so sad, glad your little one is going to be ok!

Polafrompoland said...

Hi ! I already sent you an email but didn't get any responce. Would that be fine for you if I translate this post and put it on my polish blog (and put the link to yours) ? I find it very valuable and thought I'd share it with people that I know and can't understand english. Best regards,
Pola from polafrompoland.com

Jennifer Flores said...

Thank you for posting your story. It will educate many people including my family members if this were to occur. So glad your little boy is ok.

Unknown said...

I know that I am a little late to this post, but I just had a similiar incident with my 7 year old son over July 4th.
We had gone to a family members 4th of July party and were having a good time. It was an unusually pleasant day and the kids were super excited to get into the pool. My seven year old never usually ventures past the steps, but on this day he was feeling a bit more comfortable and there were several adults in and around the pool. I had gotten out of the pool to get a drink and turned around to talk to my best friend and that is when my world was turned upside down.
It happened in a manner of minutes, but it felt like an eternity to me. One of the younger kids asked if Caleb (my son) knew how to hold his breath that long and that is when we saw him unconscious at the bottom of the pool. He wasn't breathing and had no heartbeat thankfully someone at the party knew CPR and kept working on him until the paramedics got there. It took a few minutes, but they were able to bring him back to me. He was taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital where they immediately put warming blankets and oxygen on him and did a workup. We ended up being transferreded to a childrens hospital to continue care and monitoring.
He was released after 24 hours and was assured that we were out of the woods because he hadn't spiked a fever and sounded clear. There was still some fluid in his lungs, but that should dry up within a few days. His pediatrician saw him the day after he was discharged from the hospital and assured me of the same things. He developed a nasty cold about a week after the incident and was advised to take him to the closest childrens hospital just in case which I immediately did. They took a chest xray and said there was still some fluid in his lungs, but it might take a while for it to clear up completely. His lungs sounded clear so off we went.
Fast forward 5 weeks. Caleb started complaining that his chest was hurting when he breathed and he had been having coughing fits after being active or being in the heat (which we were told was normal) so I monitored his activities and kept him out of the heat. However, when he started complaining that his chest was hurting I knew in my heart that something was wrong.
My mother took us to the hospital where they immediately did an EKG and a chest xray after I recalled the July 4th incident to them "Just to be safe". They also did a full blood panel to test his white blood cell count. The Dr. Came in a little while later and told me that there was a large mass in my sons right lung and that the blood tests confirmed that we had a very sick boy on our hands and that he was fighting a severe case of pneumonia.
They immediately started him on IV antibiotics and sent him home with a strong course of antibiotics to hopefully clear up the infection. It's only been a few days and prayerfully this treatment works. My point in telling my story is, just from listening to my son's lungs he sounded and looked perfectly fine to the Dr's., but in fact he had actually contracted the pneumonia within a few days of nearly drowning. Please please please if you feel that something is not right with your child (even if they say you are wrong),push for treatment. You are your childs advocate. Don't ever forget that.

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