Secondary drowning: caution to parents of young swimmers

They say swallowing water could cause secondary drowning if not treated.

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) – Phoebe Reed and Crystal Howerton go swimming with their children almost every day during the summer.

“I watch them, even if I’m not directly in the water” said Phoebe, “I’m always watching what they’re doing, making sure that they’re safe”.

But doctors say parents should watch their kids even after they get home because of what’s called secondary drowning.

“That’s scary..because you think of seeing them at the pool and having trouble but not when you get home”.

Doctor Bradley Berg with Baylor, Scott and White in Round Rock says secondary drowning primarily affects toddlers and children under 10 a few hours after they’ve been swimming.

“They start coughing, they start having more trouble breathing it seems almost like an asthma attack they can run a low grade fever,” Dr. Berg said. “That’s a real warning sign that you want to take them straight into the emergency room to get them evaluated”.

And with swimming season here, parents say they’ve already learned their first lesson.

“To pay more attention when my kids and like if they’ve choked on water.” said Phoebe, “And just don’t let them go back to sleep right after even though they might seem tired.

And avoid turning a fun day at the pool into tragedy. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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