Dry drowning and secondary drowning are two consequences of swimming that parents should be aware of. While the number of deaths each year can't be determined for sure, it is safe to say it is in the hundreds.
Dry drowning occurs with no water in the lungs where secondary drowning is caused by inhaling too much water.
Dry drownings occur when the lungs cannot get oxygen. There are many causes of this that do not relate to swimming pools. Only a couple of possibilities do and they are worth mentioning. One has to do with diving into a cold pool resulting in a heart attack, just not a good thing to do. The other is caused by a rush of water entering the throat and it involuntarily shutting down, keeping the water out but also keeping air out. This would be caused by jumping into a pool with your mouth open.
In talking about kids and swimming pools secondary drowning is more common. The symptoms are fairly easy to spot if we are paying close attention to our children, during and after swimming.
Children with water in their lungs can act very normal. They can walk and talk. They can live for hours or a day. The symptoms are extreme fatigue and difficulty breathing. The lungs are having a difficult time getting oxygen to the brain. The water in them makes breathing difficult. Other symptoms might include coughing, chest pains and paleness in the face.
The last symptom is a change in behavior. If you notice any of these symptoms, and have reason to believe your child may have water in the lungs, get them to a hospital.
The treatment is fairly simple but without it they could die. They will force oxygen into the lungs until they have a chance to heal themselves.
At the pool pay attention to any obvious choking or spitting up. Watch the kids during their swim and continue watching them after they are done. It's just all part of good parenting.