Family Warns Others About Secondary Drowning After Child’s Near-Death Experience

by Anna Halkidis
Anna is a native New Yorker who loves concerts, travel, good coffee, and her Jack Russell terrier, Charlie. She’s a multimedia journalist who earned her master’s degree from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Her true passion for telling stories keeps her inspired.

While at a relative’s pool in Missouri, 3-year-old Lizzie took a scary tumble into the water. Her 13-year-old brother, Sam, quickly pulled her from the water.

“She was gray in the face, blue in the lips, and her eyes were in her head,” he told KFVS-TV. “She was spitting up water and stuff. I didn’t know what was happening. I was really scared.”

After Sam performed CPR, Lizzie recuperated. The family thought Lizzie was safe from harm, until she became lethargic. Mom Cassandra Marks said her daughter started falling asleep, a sign that something wasn’t right.

“One of the family members came by and she said ‘Don’t let that baby go to sleep’ And I said ‘Well, why not?’ and she said ‘Because she won’t wake back up,’” the mom recalled.

The reason? Lizzie was suffering from a rare condition called secondary drowning. It shouldn’t be confused with dry drowning, which means water disrupts the airways but never travels to the lungs as it does during secondary drowning.

But unlike obvious drowning where lifeguards come to the rescue, secondary drowning can become fatal even hours after a person has finished swimming. Symptoms of the condition include a persistent cough, sleepiness, throwing up, changes in breathing, and/or simple change in behavior. It’s crucial for parents to pay attention to these symptoms after a day in the water.

Watch below, and please SHARE to spread awareness for secondary drowning!

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