From MSNBC.com:

    The tragic death of a South Carolina 10-year-old more than an hour after he had gone swimming has focused a spotlight on the little-known phenomenon called "dry drowning" — and warning signs that every parent should be aware of.

    “I’ve never known a child could walk around, talk, speak and their lungs be filled with water,” Cassandra Jackson told NBC News in a story broadcast Thursday on TODAY.

    On Sunday, Jackson had taken her son, Johnny, to a pool near their home in Goose Creek, S.C. It was the first time he’d ever gone swimming — and, tragically, it would be his last.

    "We physically walked home. He walked with me," Jackson said, still trying to understand how her son could have died. "I bathed him, and he told me that he was sleepy."

    Later, she went into his room to check on him. "I walked over to the bed, and his face was literally covered with this spongy white material," she said. "And I screamed."

Ladies, before you start panicking and keeping your children out of the pool (or the bathtub), this phenomenon is extremely rare.

It seems a few important details were left out of the article. For example, was the little boy sick or in any respiratory distress after he got home? It sounds like he was because mothers don't normally bathe their 10-year-old sons, do they?

In the article it was noted that Johnny soiled himself in the pool which is why she bathed him. If Johnny lost control of his bowels in the pool then his mom should have noticed a change in his mental status or orientation.

Unfortunately, we don't have enough information to go on. But this is what I believe happened:

I believe Johnny developed respiratory distress syndrome after swallowing water which ended up deep in his lungs. He was probably able to cough most of the water up, except the small amount that made it into the tiny airways deep in the lungs.

Johnny slowly drowned because as he slept, the water deep in his lungs blocked the vital exchange of oxygen and CO2 in his lungs. The "spongy white material" that Johnny's mom described was most likely dried frothy sputum from his lungs that had bubbled up through his nose and mouth. To better understand this, imagine what happens when you blow air through a straw in a glass of milk.

The more you blow, the more bubbles you create.

Although this is extremely rare, here are the signs to look out for in your child:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue which progressively gets worse
  • A change in mood, normal behavior, mental status or orientation (your child soils himself and suddenly can't bathe himself)

This has been your Medical Minute!

Thanks to loyal reader, Tia Jones, for the link!

  • Sharonda

    Soiled up as in what?His lungs filled up with water?Whatever the case may be, this is sad. :(

  • http://www.myspace.com/millyly milly

    RIP Thanks for the medical minute SR

  • cupcakes

    I heard about this on the news....very sad. It's a real wakeup call on that type of drowning. Didn't know that was possible.

  • AIP

    Yes they do. Since you copied it from MSN on yesterday's news, maybe you should read the entire article and answer your own question.

  • BLACKBARBIE404

    I THINK IT'S ABSURD TO MAKE ASSUMPTIONS ON A CHILD'S DEATH LIKE THIS.

    MAY GOD BLESS HIM & HIS FAMILY.

  • MOCHAMOMMY

    This is extremely sad... My prayers are with the family. I'm kinda convinced that the mother didnt do enough for him, but hindsight is 20/20. God bless em

  • katgirl33

    My friends I were talking about this this morning.....I was thinking that she did that for reassurance...from the obvious embarrassment & humiliation a 10 year old would feel from "soiling" himself, and having to walk home.....

    I think she should have been paying more attention to his demeanor while she was helping him, but she probably didn't realize her baby was that sick.

    :(

  • http://notenoughrealmen.blogspot.com 2thick4u

    This is very sad!!!

    I'll have to read more about this before I make assumptions on dry drownings.

  • Brookiebaby0506

    I just read the complete article on msnbc - wow! I have never heard of this before. It sounds like it would be so hard to detect on your child. That is really scary. Especially a child with ashtma, like my son. There have been so many kids drowing here in my state (Oklahoma) so far this summer it is sad.

    We have a pool at our house and I talk to my 5 yr old son about never going out there without an adult. I just hope that I have explained it to him in a way that he truly understands how dangerous it really is.

  • Brookiebaby0506

    asthma*

  • ckarinwhite

    No more sad children death stories...It is Friday!

  • MOCHAMOMMY

    Sandra, put rihanna and her big head up so we can get a good laugh.... this is way too depressing and my week was hard enough

  • MzDetermined

    This is a very sad story. This reminds us parents to observe are children after swimming if something like this could happen. You wouldn't even think anything like this could happen:(

  • GAGIRL73

    @ SANDRA ROSE I LIVE I GOOSE SC AROUND THE CORNER FROM THIS FAMILY. AND THIS CHILD HAD A SICKNESS, SO BEFORE YOU JUDGE HIS MOTHER FOR BATHING HIM!!! DO MORE FACTS BEFORE YOU QUESTION ABOUT A MOTHER TAKING CARE OF HER CHILD, BUT THEN AGAIN YOU ALREADY THINK LESS OF BLACK MOTHERS'!!!!!

    GOD BLESS THIS FAMILY!!!!!!!!!!

  • GAGIRL73

    I'M LIVID, SORRY FOR THE TYPO...BLACK MOTHERS'

  • http://www.sandrarose.com Sandra Rose

    @ GAGIRL73:

    I said the article left information out. The way it was written, it seemed like the Johnny was walking around and then he died. They did not mention Johnny had a sickness.

  • GAGIRL73

    Jon Jon was autistic and suffered from attention deficit and a social phobia, his mother said. But doctors told her that had nothing to do with his death.

    Not all drowning deaths happen immediately. Other phenomena, such as secondary drowning, can occur as much as 72 hours later and without any warning signs, medical experts say.

    TO ALL: CHARLESTON.NET IS THE LOCAL PAPER HERE

    PLEASE READ TO HAVE A BETTER UNDERSTANDING.

    GAGIRL73-MRS. KMG

  • Anna

    @ Brookiebaby0506,

    Either you are white or I learned that they do have black ppl living in Oklahoma. lol.

    This is a sad story. The other sad part is that parents are going to be afraid to teach their kids how to swim. In the black community we have the highest rate in drownings becasue we don't know how to swim. I do and my kids do. I just threw my kids in the water and basically had them figure it out.

  • GAGIRL73

    @ SANDRA

    I POSTED THE WEBSITE, SO THE JUDGEMENT CAN STOP.
    ANOTHER CHILD HAS LOST THIER LIFE!!

    ONCE AGAIN......(CHARLESTON.NET)

    CHILD'S DEATH MYTIFIES MOTHER IS THE TITLE BY NOAD HAGLUND.

  • http://www.sandrarose.com Sandra Rose

    Sharonda Says:

    Soiled up as in what?His lungs filled up with water?Whatever the case may be, this is sad.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    He had diarrhea in the pool.

  • shayrobertson99

    WOW, I never heard of this before

  • Bsoul

    Man...one more thing to be cautious of.

  • http://www.sandrarose.com Sandra Rose

    @ MOCHAMOMMY and katgirl33:

    That's exactly what I thought. I felt that the article was not thorough enough because a lot of info was left out. Clearly the boy was in distress before she put him to bed. She had to notice something was different about him. I am not passing judgment on her.

  • bklynsjm123

    This is sad. When I heard about this I said my daughter will not be going swimming. It is so sad, kids cant do anything these days. RIP to the boy.

  • http://www.sandrarose.com Sandra Rose

    GAGIRL73 Says:

    Jon Jon was autistic and suffered from attention deficit and a social phobia, his mother said. But doctors told her that had nothing to do with his death.

    Not all drowning deaths happen immediately.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Most people have good cough reflexes. So if we swallow and inhale water at the same time (aspirate), we can cough the water up before it can cause problems in our lungs. In Johnny's case, since he was autistic, he might not have been able to clear the water like we would. So a little bit of water got deep into his lungs where there are no cough reflexes. That's why he slowly drowned from the bubbles being formed by air trying to squeeze through the water deep down in his lungs. This type of "drowning" is rare when you consider the circumstances of him being autistic. The article I posted left that important detail out. I think the article was deliberately misleading to cause a panic unnecessarily.

  • HeyNow

    sorry to hear this.GAGIRL73 please let the family know she is in our prayers. Because of this accident he has saved a child's life this summer,trust and believe that.Parents now know that this can happen and are more aware.I know the press/media is saying it is so rare,but when it happens to your child that does not mean a damn thing to a parent who has lost their child.

  • heart2heart

    Wow, really sad story. May he rest in peace.

  • andriceb

    i am not trying to be mean...but sandra's spin was judgemental.

  • marshefen

    ^^^ it was. Who would know this could happen? Now that I know this can happen I will pay more attention. But I doubt I would have rushed a child to the hospital because he soiled himself and was tired. I'm sure she was confused, but probably figured he would be okay after a nap.

  • JOMINE

    Wow thatis awful. May he rest in peace.

  • http://www.sandrarose.com Sandra Rose

    marshefen Says:

    I doubt I would have rushed a child to the hospital because he soiled himself and was tired.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    If a child defecates on himself in a pool and then complains of being tired in the middle of the day, I would have watched him closely. It's apparent from the mother's own words that she didn't check on him for hours. She described a spongy white material on his face. The spongy material was sputum from his lungs that had bubbled up through his nose and mouth and dried on his face. It took hours for that to occur. The bottom line is this is extremely rare and you don't have to worry about it unless your child is mentally impaired or sick. In that case he shouldn't be in a pool unless someone is right there with him monitoring him.