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‘Secondary Drowning’ Nearly Kills Toddler

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On May 20, Lindsay Kujawa shared a blog post with her followers on her blog titled Delighted Momma.

Her post instantly went viral and has been read by thousands of mothers. So, what made this post so interesting? The topic.

Lindsay shared one of the worst experiences of her life, when her son nearly died from secondary drowning.

Lindsay and her two-year-old son Ronin were attending her niece’s birthday party in mid May. The party was a pool party and everyone was outside enjoying the nice weather. Ronin was sitting on the top step of the swirling spa, and Lindsay was sitting on the edge, not even a foot away from him.

Kujawa explained that she moved to shift her sitting position, and took her eyes off of Ronin for less than five seconds. In those few seconds, Ronin managed to somehow fall into the water. Lindsay was instantly at Ronin’s side and pulled him to safety, and said all she could think was “please let him be okay.” She explained that Ronin cried for less than a minute and then seemed fine.

However, upon returning to their home, Lindsay started noticing Ronin acting differently. “You know what your child is like when he’s tired and this was totally different,” she told Today. “This was beyond tired and I just felt he wasn’t right. Even when Ronin is tired, he’s cranky. But he didn’t have a lot of emotion.”

Ronin was showing strange symptoms including a “weird cough that made him tense up every time he exerted the effort.” Kujawa knew in her gut that something was wrong and called Ronin’s pediatrician who sternly told her to take Ronin to the emergency room immediately because he could have been suffering from secondary drowning.

Lindsay did as she was told and took Ronin to the ER where they performed a chest X-ray. After reviewing the X-ray, the doctors noticed fluid in Ronin’s lungs. Due to the severity of Ronin’s accident, the doctors made the decision to send him to the Children’s Hospital in San Diego. On the way there, Ronin’s oxygen levels started dropping, and he had to have an oxygen mask placed on his face.

Upon arriving at the Children’s Hospital, more chest X-rays were done on Ronin and he was monitored closely. The next day, the doctors came in and told Lindsay that she had done everything right and this just happened to be a freak accident. The doctor explained that the water in Ronin’s chest was clearing, and that he would be discharged the next day.

Luckily, Ronin survived this terrible accident. However, some are not as lucky. While most know what drowning is, many have no idea what the definition of secondary drowning is. It is hard to notice because the child seems to act fine after the initial accident.

“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,” Lindsay’s blog post read. “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.”

If you fear that your child is suffering from secondary drowning, here are some symptoms to look for:
•Lethargy
•Coughing after the event is over
•The child is not acting like himself
•A change in the color of the lips
•A change in breathing

If you notice these symptoms after your child has had a near drowning experience, doctors urge you to take your child to the emergency room immediately.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

‘Secondary Drowning’ Nearly Kills Toddler
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