My kids are crazy about swimming… in the ocean, a lake or a pool. They could swim for several hours if I let them.
Of course, it sometimes makes me nervous, because playing in the water poses a lot of risks. So I have to be diligent and keep a constant eye on them.
But, unfortunately, things don’t always go according to plan.
This is something a mom named Lacey Grace became painfully aware of when her 4-year-old daughter, Elianna, suddenly was fighting for her life after a seemingly normal day at the pool.
It was like any other day. Lacey Grace was watching her 4-year-old daughter, Elianna, and a friend play in the family’s backyard pool with a so-called foam “noodle.”
While the girls were playing, they blew water through the noodle into each other’s mouths.
At one point, Elianna breathed in a little water. She immediately coughed it up and kept playing with her friend.
According to Lacey, the rest of the day was normal. She thought it was just kids being kids — and nothing bad happened… at first.
But then, the story took a nasty turn.
Lacey took to Facebook to write about what happened in the following days, when her daughter was suddenly fighting for her life.
“Elianna was playing in the pool with a “pool noodle” on Saturday, and as many many children do every day, she was blowing in one end and blowing water out the other. By 100% freak accident, Elianna put her mouth to blow out at the same time someone blew in the other end, causing the water to shoot directly down her throat. She threw up immediately but didn’t really have any other notable things happen.
30 minutes after the “accident” she was totally fine – normal, playing, eating, etc. The next day, even, she was fine.
Come Monday she developed a fever. Kids get fevers, this is normal. I didn’t think much. Tuesday she slept most of the day but still overall looked fine. Sent her to school Wednesday and got a call in the afternoon that her fever was back.
I kept replaying that pool scene in my head and remembered reading a story last year about a Dad in Texas whose son passed away because he went untreated after inhaling a bunch of pool water. I wasn’t going to let that be Elianna.”
“We went from school to the urgent care, hoping the doctor would say, ‘her lungs sound great, it’s just viral, etc.’ We were there about 10 minutes when the doctor said to get her to the nearest ER as soon as possible. Her heart rate was crazy high, her oxygen was low, and her skin was turning purple which suggested chemical infection.
Went to the nearest ER where they did a chest X-ray and showed inflammation and infection caused from pool chemicals.
Two hours later they transferred her by ambulance to an even larger hospital so they could monitor her around the clock and have pediatric specialists keep an eye on her.
She began treatment in the ambulance on the way over.
LONG STORY SHORT, Elianna has aspiration pneumonia and is now on oxygen and relying on it to breathe. They’ve tried to remove the tubes and give her a chance to breathe on her own but her levels drop quickly. She’s had her second dose of antibiotic but we haven’t seen much relief yet. Her fevers have continued. Her heart rate has lowered so that is the only good news so far. At least two doctors now have told us, ‘Thank God you got her here when you did.'”
“All the major things going wrong are things you would NEVER notice by looking at her.
If your child inhales a bunch of water, and something seems off AT ALL, I encourage you to immediately get help. I wonder if I would have taken her Monday, would she be better off?? And I wonder if I waited longer what would have happened. It’s so scary.
For now, we just pray that the antibiotic takes quickly and her lungs can find a way to get rid of the pool chemicals. They will keep us until she’s fever free for 24 hours, her chest X-ray comes back clear, and she can sleep fully through the night without her oxygen levels dropping so drastically.
If she requires more than 3 liters of oxygen we will be transferred to Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. We don’t know how long the road will be but I thank my lucky stars that I read that article of the little boy.
I will find that article and write that Dad a letter, I promise you. I would have never taken her to the urgent care without that and God only knows how this would have ended.”
Luckily, Lacey had read the story of Frankie Delgado, a 4-year-old boy who died after swimming in a pool.
Unfortunately, he didn’t survive, but Elianna is likely to recover.
Secondary drowning: What every parent needs to know
Even if your child says they’re feeling okay after swallowing a lot of water, the danger isn’t necessarily over. After a while, water can accumulate in the tissue and air spaces of the lungs, causing a condition called secondary drowning.
Here are the symptoms you should keep track of, according to Parents Magazine:
- Your child becomes cranky, argumentative, or combative
- Your child becomes extremely tired
Fortunately, Elianna is now on the road to recovery, according to ABC News.
She has a long way to go before she’s completely healthy again, but in the meantime, gifts and words of support have poured in for this little fighter. We wish you a quick recovery, Elianna!
This story would have had a different ending if Lacey hadn’t read that article.
Now the relieved mom hopes that her daughter’s nightmare acts as a warning to other parents, especially since swimming season is fast approaching.
With a little more exposure, I’m convinced this story will prevent other children from dying from breathing in pool water or secondary drowning.