Inhaling water - paranoia strikes again!!!! - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-16-2011, 05:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Almost every time Bea takes a bath, she somehow manages to inhale water.  Today she reached for a toy, and her face barely touched the water, but she must have inhaled some.  She couldn't even cough for several seconds, and it scared the living daylights out of me.  (Then she got upset that I was keeping her from her toys...)  Obviously I need to do a better job keeping this baby's face out of the water in the bath.  Otherwise, though, what is the real risk of her "drowning" this way?  My instinct is always to pat her on the back, but obviously that doesn't help.  What should one do if a baby has inhaled water and can't get air?  Is there any truth to these freaky stories about babies dying suddenly hours after water inhalation?  If so, is there any reputable resource out there about what to symptoms to look out for? Argh.  Why is there so much to WORRY about????

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Old 02-16-2011, 11:53 PM
 
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I don't really know the answers to your questions, but I wanted to let you know that my LO does that too.  Even if a little bit of water gets around/in her nose (not deep in her nose, just around the area), she will stop breathing and panic! She literally will NOT breathe.  She tries to take little breathes but her body "won't let her".  I quickly grab a towel and wipe the little water under her nose so that it feels dry to her.  It FREAKS ME OUT!! She used to do it often but those episodes have slowed down some.  She seems to be able to tolerate it more.  Not sure why it happens to some babes....


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Old 02-17-2011, 06:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Blessed1 View Post

I don't really know the answers to your questions, but I wanted to let you know that my LO does that too.  Even if a little bit of water gets around/in her nose (not deep in her nose, just around the area), she will stop breathing and panic! She literally will NOT breathe.  She tries to take little breathes but her body "won't let her".  I quickly grab a towel and wipe the little water under her nose so that it feels dry to her.  It FREAKS ME OUT!! She used to do it often but those episodes have slowed down some.  She seems to be able to tolerate it more.  Not sure why it happens to some babes....


Thanks for the response.  We just started introducing a daily bath as a soothing part of bedtime.  It may soothe her, but it definitely doesn't soothe me!  Glad to know it happens to other babies, too. 

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Old 02-17-2011, 09:25 AM
 
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All my babies have done the choking in the bath thing as little babes, but a few months ago when my youngest was doing it I had just happened to be reading freaky internet stories about dry drowning and I started worrying about it too. I even called my pediatriatrician's advice nurse once. I wasn't exactly laughed at, buuuttt...evidently it takes a lot more water, like a whole day of swimming or whatever.

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Old 02-17-2011, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by LISSA~K View Post

All my babies have done the choking in the bath thing as little babes, but a few months ago when my youngest was doing it I had just happened to be reading freaky internet stories about dry drowning and I started worrying about it too. I even called my pediatriatrician's advice nurse once. I wasn't exactly laughed at, buuuttt...evidently it takes a lot more water, like a whole day of swimming or whatever.



Ah, this is exactly what I needed to hear.  No danger of developing pneumonia from fluid in the lungs either?

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Old 02-17-2011, 07:24 PM
 
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Babies have a reflex to hold their breath when water hits their face. They cannot control it & it really does look distressing. It's something they will lose unless they are exposed to submersion regularly from a young age (a reason it is often easier for babies who have always been brought swimming to be comfortable in the water).

 

Really, you're best reaction is to just not make a big deal about it. If you start now with getting distressed when water gets in their face you make them believe it is a bad thing. I've spent  a LOT of time helping kids & adults get over the fear of getting their face wet - believe me it's much easier to just not develop the fear.

 

It is scary though - ds' has the strongest reflex I've ever seen & kicks & flails his arms trying to get his breath.


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Old 02-17-2011, 09:10 PM
 
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 I think I can reassure you on this. I hope so anyway :-)

 

It sounds like what you are describing is laryngospasm. This is a spasm or contraction of the vocal cords as a response to some type of stimulation. In this case bathwater. It is actually a protective mechanism to prevent the water from entering the lungs. It usually lasts less than 60 seconds and will resolve by itself. You don;'t need to do anything. Wiping the face is good. Speaking calmly and reassuringly and maybe giving a cuddle is all that's needed.

 

Secondary drowning occurs when a victim of a near drowning develops pulmonary oedema (in the hours, or days after the original incident. It is caused by irritation to the lungs. It is not an issue with the situation you are describing because there is little or no fluid entering your baby's lungs.

 

Aspiration pneumonia is a concern if fluid enters the lungs but, once again, not an issue here if no fluid is getting into the lungs.

 

There *is* a lot to worry about with little babies but honestly, our bodies are really good at protecting themselves. It takes a pretty serious insult to do major harm. The reason we hear these horror stories is partly because they are so rare.

 

And finally, a little bit of anecdata for you. I live in Australia which has high rates of childhood drownings. I have been an ED nurse for 10 years and my DH has been an ED and ICU nurse for 30. Neither of us has seen or heard of a baby drowning or getting pneumonia from sticking their face in the bath and having a sniff.


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