Researchers Say Kids Shake Off Near-Drowning Experiences

Filed under: In The News

Near-Drowning Experiences

Researchers in Finland found most kids who almost drown get over it. Credit: Getty Images


Granted, it's not the way you want to spend your Sunday afternoon, but drowning is not all that bad.

Well, it is if you actually drown drown like Leonardo DiCaprio in "Titanic." But if you survive, hey, just grab a towel and get over it.

Most kids do, it turns out.

The popular image of people who almost drown as kids is that they develop a pathological fear of water as adults. They won't even go near a bath tub. Not so, reports Reuters news service.

Some researchers in Finland found most kids who almost drown get over it. They adjust as well as kids who grow up without a brush with death.

Maybe.

Pertti Suominen, from the Hospital for Children and Adolescents at the University of Helsinki, tells Reuters his study looked at how kids were adjusting 10 years after a near-drowning experience. Doctors should still keep an eye on patients for several more years, he suggests.

The post-traumatic stress could come later in life.

It also depends on how long kids were underwater, he adds.

"In patients with an estimated submersion time of 10 minutes or longer the (quality of life) was significantly lower than in patients with a submersion time less than 10 minutes," Suominen tells Reuters.

Researchers tracked 64 kids who were rushed to intensive care and given CPR between 1985 and 2007 after almost drowning.

Out of the 40 survivors researchers tracked down, Reuters reports 29 returned questionnaires asking about their current mental health and how much school they completed.

Survivors who were teens and young adults at the time of the incidents reported slight problems, but people who were 11 or younger at the time reported virtually no difficulties. Some of the survivors were still so young that the parents may have filled the questionnaires for them, Suominen tells Reuters.

So the lack of psychological issues may say more about the parents than the children.

"This may reflect the relief of parents that their child survived from the drowning incident and small neurological deficits don't mean that much," Suominen says. "Also the learning difficulties will come apparent later when the child enters school."

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.