Drowning is the second most common cause of death in children in the United States.
A 10 year old boy named Johnny “Jon Jon” Jackson died June 1, 2008 in Goose Creek,
South Carolina, subsequent to swimming in the pool at the apartment complex where
he lived. Jon Jon was wearing floatation devices on his arms and was being monitored
by his mother. His mother said that he inhaled some water while swimming and she
described him as “taking a little bit of water in and coughing and then calming down.”
He afterwards appeared fine, but less than two hours after leaving the pool; he twice
defecated in his pants and complained of being tired. After being bathed and dressing
himself back at the apartment, he walked to his bed unaided, leaving his mother to
believe that he was simply worn out. Yet when his mother checked on Johnny a few
minutes later, she discovered that white foam was issuing from his mouth, his lips were
blue, and his tongue was sticking out. The family called 911, but Johnny suffered
condition known as laryngospasm. During this event, although no water enters the lungs, no air
enters either, so the victim dies of asphyxiation. The second explanation posits that the shock
of a swimmer, suddenly entering extremely cold water causes the heart to stop. Dry
drowning usually occurs between one and 24 hours after the incident. A person can
have a drowning incident, be pulled out of the water, be okay, then sometime within
the next 24 hours, they can drown.
To help prevent dry drowning, keep your mouth closed when jumping or diving into the
water, thereby protecting the larynx from a sudden rush of water that could cause it to
spasm and cut off the airway. Also, do not dive or jump into extremely cold water;
instead, enter cold water gradually. Those who have a history of heart problems should
avoid entering cold water at all, even if they plan to go slowly.
Caregivers should also guard against delayed drowning by monitoring very closely any
child who has come out of the water coughing and sputtering (signs of water having
been breathed in), especially keeping an eye out for any further difficulties in
breathing, extreme tiredness, or marked changes in behavior.
One additional caution should be noted regarding drowning: it is a fallacy that those
who lose their lives in such fashion will flail about wildly even as they are slipping
beneath the water’s surface. Drowning generally occurs silently and smoothly, the
victim quietly passing away wholly unnoticed as friends or family chatter nearby.
Therefore, never mistake a lack of commotion for a sign that everything is all right:
instead, keep your eyes on those you are supposed to be watching rather than trust
that they will do or shout something to alert you if anything goes awry.
Researched online. Data gathered through various sources.