What are the consequences of near drowning in children? | my guide

Temperatures are on the rise this week – even Sunday can top 30 degrees locally. New diving provides cooling, and unfortunately every summer diving causes many unnecessary drownings among children. And the longer they stay underwater, the worse their chances are. Pediatric neurologist Maayke Hunfeld and pediatric IC physician Corinne Buysse explain the consequences of near-drowning, resuscitation and admission to the intensive care unit.

Each year, an average of 13 children die as a result of drowning in the Netherlands, and on average a total of 78 drownings, with or without fatal outcomes, occur in the Netherlands each year. The National Swimming Safety Council recently calculated this. More than half of children who die after drowning die before they reach a hospital or emergency department because CPR fails. The SafetyNL Knowledge Center started again this summer with an informational campaign about swimming safety. More than 83 percent of parents still think drowning is related to screaming, hitting, yelling or crying, according to their survey. This is a misconception. Children drown quickly and silently.

The heart does not pump oxygen to the brain

There’s not a second we waste when you take a baby out of the water, says IC Pediatrician Corinne Buysse. “We see that sometimes there is filming rather than assistance. Do your civic duty, get the victim out of the water immediately and start CPR; every minute the child is immersed in water for longer, the outcome deteriorates.” Babies who survive CPR and end up in the intensive care unit are short-lived, pediatric neurologist Mikey Honfield explains. Their hearts stopped because the body was not getting oxygen underwater. Hunfeld: If your heart isn’t working, it’s not pumping oxygen to the organs, so every second counts. The longer a child stays underwater, the greater the chance that he will be deprived of oxygen, leading to cardiac arrest and brain damage.”


Do your civic duty, get the victim out of the water immediately and start CPR; Every minute the child drowns for longer, the outcome deteriorates

Corinne Buysse, IC Pediatrician

Doctors Corinne Buysse, Maayke Hunfeld and a psychiatrist follow up on children who have survived resuscitation and who were in the intensive care unit through a multidisciplinary outpatient follow-up clinic at Erasmus MC Sophia Children’s Hospital in Rotterdam. They do this for years, until the children are 18 years old, thus they are also the first children around the world. Buysse says children’s hospitals have their eyes on it, because the way they work and the data collected is unique. They are currently working on a national database of all resuscitated children in the Netherlands.

From multiple disabilities to low IQ

Many patients ended up in this follow-up clinic after almost drowning. Children who have been underwater for a long time can suffer serious brain damage and remain with multiple disabilities or even die after entering the intensive care unit for a month. The nature of the effects ranges from extreme to very subtle such as learning and concentration problems. In order to recognize those little consequences, you have to keep following them, these doctors say. Honfeld gives an example: a child refuses to eat; Something like this could be a mystery to the parents. We can sometimes explain that. The association with this troublesome tube feeding is still present during insertion, which is why eating and swallowing is considered sensitive.”


We also take care of the parents: we often see them later with PTSD complaints. Every sound reminds them of that time in IC

Maayke Hunfeld, Pediatric Neurologist

Doctors say about three-quarters of the children who survive resuscitation appear to be doing well: they can go back to their old school and look the same as the old one. However, the psychological examinations and measurements they perform at the Rotterdam outpatient clinic show that their IQ is lower than it was before resuscitation, and they often have problems with concentration and learning. Often this cannot be compensated or fixed, but the right education can be provided at the right time.

Parents, brothers and sisters also participate

Doctors also involve the child’s family. Hunfeld: Parents who have almost seen their children die, we often see later with ptts complaints, when the initial panic is gone and the relief of survival subsides. Every sound reminds them of that time in the intensive care unit. We also ask for their well-being; Whether they can sleep well, whether they need anything. We do the same with brothers and sisters.”

Doctors say many drownings are preventable, so always keep them within sight. a two-year-old child falls into the water, spreads his arms like a starfish and sinks to the bottom; You don’t see them fighting against water, Honfield explains. In addition, children who can swim can still drown due to, for example, a heart arrhythmia, epilepsy, or if drugs or alcohol have been used.

baby in the water? This is how you behave appropriately:

Get a child at risk of drowning out of the water as soon as possible, but only if it is safe for you to do so

Call 112 right away or have someone else call 112

Begin CPR immediately if the child is not breathing or is breathing unusually

Never film drowning and CPR

Via Citizens Network, someone will come in six minutes to take over the resuscitation process, ambulances and helicopters are quickly on site.

The experts at 112 will talk to you through it and help you until professional help arrives.

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