There’s a gross misconception about drowning that’s traveling the communication airwaves, and it’s time Texas Swim Academy did its part to end any and all rumors once and for all. There is evidence-based proof that dry drowning and secondary drowning does not exist. Again, dry drowning, secondary drowning and near drowning do not exist.

There, we said it. And here’s why.  

These are not accepted medical conditions, and many well-known organizations, including The World Health Organization, the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all discourage the use of these terms because of their confusing nature.  

This misconception — the idea that children who went swimming and showed no signs or symptoms of issues between the time they left the water to when their parents noticed some kind of breathing distress — not only creates an unnecessary false panic in parents, it also detracts from the real issue of drowning.


What is Drowning?

Drowning is defined by the 2002 World Congress on Drowning as the process of experiencing respiratory impairment due to submersion or immersion in a liquid. There are three possible outcomes due to this process. A.) Fatal drowning; B.) Non-fatal drowning without injury; and C.) Non-fatal drowning with injury. In short, drowning is drowning. You can’t “nearly drown” just as you can’t “nearly have a heart attack.” You either do or you don’t.

So where did this misconception originate? It’s hard to find an exact source, but the media and social media have played influencing roles in further endorsing this panic by hyping tragic stories and placing blame on a non-existent entity.

The reality is drowning is a very real thing, and sadly it is the leading preventable cause of death in children. And we take that very seriously. But we also take our responsibility in sharing the firm truth of the matter.

The high-profile cases of what has been falsely labeled dry or secondary drownings have been caused by other issues, including a very rare condition called aspiration pneumonia, an infection that develops when water is trapped in the lungs. And the signs and symptoms of this condition won’t be missed. Children will have worsening symptoms, including wheezing, coughing, vomiting, cannot catch their breath, extreme fatigue and disorientation.

If your child experiences any lingering symptoms after a drowning episode, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.


Establishing Safeguards Against Drowning

The bottom line is the conversation needs to focus on how to prevent drowning. According to the Center for Disease Control, there are roughly 3,500 fatal drowning incidents in the United States annually. Furthermore, the CDC reports that there are between 6,000 to 13,000 annual emergency room visits for nonfatal drowning episodes with the highest risk group for fatal and nonfatal drownings being children ages 1 to 4.

Drowning is a preventable epidemic. And that’s the basis in which Texas Swim Academy was established.

Swimming lessons are a life skill that should not be overlooked.

Providing children, beginning in infancy, with lessons to learn the basics in which they are equipped with the necessary skills to survive in the water is invaluable. Partaking in maintenance lessons even after they know how to swim is invaluable. Learning to swim at any age is invaluable.

Of course, having children who know how to swim isn’t enough. There are other water safety tips that can help prevent drownings.

  • There always needs to be a designated water watcher when children are in or around water. This person is in charge of the children and continuously focused on their wellbeing.
  • It’s also important you know CPR. If an unfortunate accident should happen, these moments are critical and being able to perform CPR allows you the ability to buy time until an emergency crew arrives.  
  • Do not rely on floatation devices to keep a child safe in the water, specifically arm floaties. These create a false sense of security in children and are not an effective means of safety. If you have to use a safety device, use a Coast Guard approved life jacket.
  • Install appropriate pool fencing and security around your backyard pool.


Cypress Swimming Lessons

When it comes to the water, we want you to enjoy it with your children and family. We don’t want you living in fear of a silent killer that simply doesn’t exist. There has been no documented evidence of any asymptomatic child dying from drowning days after swimming. It just hasn’t happened.

Providing you and your children with the necessary skill set to not only survive, but thrive, in the water is our number one goal at Texas Swim Academy, and we look forward watching their love of water grow from a very young age.

Contact us today to learn more about the programs we offer or with any questions you may have about drowning prevention.



Texas Swim Academy is a state-of-the-art swimming facility offering water safety, survival swim, and kids swimming lessons in Katy, Texas. Owners Kathleen and Bruce McMordie, alongside our certified staff, help parents introduce children to water at an early age through the Infant Survival Swim Program , teaching life-saving techniques and basic swimming skills.

Our Stroke Development Program offers six different levels to help students progress in their swimming skills at his or her own pace. Our Adaptive Aquatics Program was created specifically for children with special abilities. Find swimming class registration information here. By subscribing to Texas Swim Academy’s blog , you can stay current on valuable water safety resources such as survival swim, health and wellness, Texas Swim Academy news and more. Follow our Facebook , Twitter, and YouTube pages for even more news, updates, and tips!