Parents warn of 'dry drowning' after 4-year-old son dies days after swimming

Francisco Delgado Jr., 4, passed away from ‘dry drowning’ almost a week after a family vacation to the Texas City Dike. <em>(Photo screenshot KHOU-TV)</em>
Francisco Delgado Jr., 4, passed away from ‘dry drowning’ almost a week after a family vacation to the Texas City Dike. (Photo screenshot KHOU-TV)

A Texas family is in mourning after their four-year-old son died from a condition known as “dry drowning” — and now they’re on a mission to warn other parents about the condition.

Francisco Delgado Jr. passed away over the weekend, days after a short family vacation to the Texas City Dike. When they returned home, Frankie began showing symptoms of a stomach bug, such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Nearly one week after the trip, the four-year-old suddenly stopped breathing. Doctors discovered fluid in Frankie’s lungs and around his heart. The family was told he died of an uncommon condition called dry drowning.

“He wasn’t even in the water, just knee-high,” his mother Tara tearfully

ALSO SEE: Mom shares heartbreaking story to educate parents on car seat safety

Dry drowning can happen hours or even days after a child inhales water into their lungs (i.e. after struggling while swimming, getting dunked in the water or simply getting water in the mouth while in the pool).<em> (Photo: Getty) </em>
Dry drowning can happen hours or even days after a child inhales water into their lungs (i.e. after struggling while swimming, getting dunked in the water or simply getting water in the mouth while in the pool). (Photo: Getty)

Dry drowning and “secondary drowning” are rare, consisting of up to two per cent of all drowning incidents, but it can happen hours or even days after an individual inhales water into their lungs (i.e. after a child struggles while swimming, gets dunked in the water or simply gets water in the mouth while in the pool). The condition can happen in adults, but children are more susceptible due to their small size, according to WebMD.

So, a child could get out of the water and continue on with other activities and not know any better — as was the case with Frankie. Symptoms to look out for include chest pain, trouble breathing, coughing, vomiting and drowsiness. Sometimes symptoms may go away on their own, but it’s always best to seek medical advice.

ALSO SEE: Kelly Owchar: Mom of twins dies of breast cancer days after diagnosis

A GoFundMe account has been set up for the Delgado’s as they finalize Frankie’s funeral.

“There are no words to describe how heartbroken we are over the passing of baby Frankie,” the family wrote in a statement. “He was only 4 years old, he had so much life to live. He was loved by so many people, his love for baseball was endless. The world lost a beautiful soul.”

“Such a wonder of life! Such a joyful spirit! Gone too soon.”

Let us know what you think by tweeting @YahooStyleCA.