His parents are speaking out to raise awareness of secondary drowning
A family is sharing the heartbreaking story of losing their son in the hopes of preventing others from going through the same tragedy. After playing around in water that was only knee deep, a little boy passed away a full week later. The cause of death was dry drowning, and every parent needs to educate themselves on this tricky and quiet danger.
Francisco Delgado Jr. took his 4-year-old son Frankie to the Texas City Dike near Galveston. According to KHOU News, it was Memorial Day Weekend, and after spending the day in very shallow water, the family left and all seemed fine with their son.
It wasn’t until days later that Frankie died from dry drowning.
His parents say that the boy had what appeared to be a stomach bug in the days after their beach trip — suffering bouts of vomiting and diarrhea. After nearly a week, he died. “Out of nowhere, he just woke up. He said ahhh,” his father explains. “He took his last breath and I didn’t know what to do.”
Delgado called 911, but it was too late. Doctors discovered fluid around Frankie’s heart and lungs leading them to conclude he had died from dry drowning.
Frankie’s mother Tara says her son was only in knee-deep water, but it’s not water depth that causes dry drowning. All it takes is inhaling water through the mouth or nose, and it can be difficult to know it’s happening unless a child starts to cough or seems to be in distress. In Frankie’s case, his parents didn’t realize anything was wrong until he became sick at home.
WebMD explains that the symptoms of dry drowning, also know as secondary drowning, are: coughing, chest pain, trouble breathing and fatigue. Vomiting or fever can also occur. These symptoms closely mimic other childhood illnesses which is why medical professionals urge parents to have their child seen by a physician for any near-drowning experience or if any symptoms of secondary drowning are present after a child has been in the water. Dry drowning can occur hours or, as Frankie’s story proves, even days after swimming.
Tara says her son was “full of life” and that “for four-years-old, he had a big heart.” The Delgados are speaking out to raise awareness of this rare occurrence so other parents know what symptoms to watch for. And so no other family has to lose a child.
If you’d like to help the family, there’s a GoFundMe page set up to offset funeral expenses for Frankie.