Mother warns of 'secondary drowning' after near-tragedy with her child

Mother warns of 'secondary drowning' after near-tragedy with her child
WTHR file photo of swimming pool
Published: .
Updated: .

As schools let out for the summer, classrooms and recess will be replaced with parks and pool parties. But there are dangers to be conscious of as parents of small children to keep summer fun safe.

Lindsay, the blogger behind "Delighted Momma," knows that firsthand. Last Tuesday, her son Ronin was sucked under the water in a spa at a pool party. He was underwater for what she says was 20 seconds before she pulled him to safety.

According to Mikail Al-Malik, YMCA Aquatics Director, "The body has several reactions that happen when you are starting to drown and it can take as little as 10 seconds for that child to slip under the water."

After that scare, Ronin was lethargic. Lindsay took him to a doctor and learned Ronin still had water in his lungs - a victim of "secondary drowning" - which can be fatal. Fortunately, Ronin recovered by Sunday.

Lindsay posted about the incident on her blog and the post quickly went viral. One of the readers of that post was Stephanie Ewing, whose daughter, Ardyn, is 2 years old.

"I've seen friends share posts on Facebook, so I've read a little about it," said Ewing. "It's kind of scary because she does go under occasionally when she doesn't pay attention to what she is doing."

Linda Rogers gets in the water with her granddaughter, Abigail, and requires her to wear a life jacket to keep her from going under.

"I couldn't believe that there is such a thing as 'secondary drowning' where the fluid gets into the lungs and it's not until later that they are succumbing that you realize what is going on," said Rogers.

Secondary, or "dry drowning" cases are rare, according to water safety experts. More common, they say, is a child found at the bottom of the pool or lake. Drowning is the second-leading cause of death for American children under the age of 12 - and it's a quiet event.

"The biggest misconception of what drowning is, is that you are going to be loud and waving your arms asking for help," explained Al-Malik, "when in reality, it's going to be someone staring straight ahead with their mouth shut slowly sinking under the water, quickly disappearing underneath the surface."

Locally, water safety lessons are free at the Y's 11 area locations starting Monday. Ask for the SPLASH program for children ages 6 to 12. The program is free to the community, but registration is required. You can learn more about the program by contacting your local Y using the information below:

Baxter YMCA
7900 S. Shelby Street
(317) 881-9347
4:50-5:30 p.m. OR 5:40-6:20 p.m.

Benjamin Harrison YMCA
5736 Lee Road
(317) 547-9622
4:50-5:30 p.m. OR 5:40-6:20 p.m.

Fishers YMCA
9012 E. 126th Street
(317) 595-9622
5:00-5:45 p.m. OR 6:00-6:45 p.m.

Hendricks Regional Health YMCA
301 Satori Parkway
(317) 273-9622
4:50-5:30 p.m. OR 5:40-6:20 p.m.

Jordan YMCA
8400 Westfield Blvd.
(317) 253-3206
4:50-5:30 p.m. OR 5:40-6:20 p.m.

Ransburg YMCA
501 N. Shortridge Road
(317) 357-8441
4:50-5:30 p.m. OR 5:40-6:20 p.m.

Witham Family YMCA
2791 N. Lebanon St.
(765) 483-9622
5:00-5:45 p.m. OR 6:00-6:45 p.m.

For more information, contact John Fero at or (317) 554-8077.