We have heard questions and fears from some of our Waterloo families regarding “dry drowning” or “secondary drowning” generated by some recent tragic news headlines.  We would like to share our thoughts.

First, all of us at Waterloo Swimming hold the safety of our swimmers in the highest regard and want to be sure our parents have all the resources necessary to make competent and confident decisions.

It is important for parents to understand that drowning is a process, like choking, that can either lead to a fatality, or be interrupted and can result in a nonfatal drowning. A nonfatal drowning incident is described as one where a person has been in/under the water and has symptoms of difficulty breathing, excessive coughing, foaming/frothing at the mouth or otherwise not behaving normally within a few hours of being in the water. If your child experiences a nonfatal drowning incident, please monitor him or her for at least 24 hours after inhaling water.  If he or she shows any of the following signs or symptoms (or if “your gut” tells you something is wrong), seek emergency medical care right away:

  • vomiting/incontinence
  • difficulty breathing/persistent cough/chest pain
  • bluing of the fingernails or lips
  • extreme mood/behavior changes

The symptoms described above are extremely rare, however they can develop quickly and should be regarded with urgency.  As always, proper supervision is the best safeguard to drowning.  Children should be monitored closely when interacting with water, and should be taught to never swim alone.  Children swimming in open water should wear a coast-guard certified life jacket regardless of swimming ability.

For more information on this matter, please read the articles below:



Enjoy your summer and stay safe!