Secondary Drowning Nearly Takes Life of California Toddler

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“In many cases, these kids look great at first, even after CPR,” Pepe said. “We don’t really know why it happens but water comes into the lungs and within minutes it is actually starting to be absorbed into the body itself. If you have a big load of water, chemical transfers occur in the first few minutes that do things that can be lethal.”

Ronin's mother said he stayed in the hospital for 24 hours, but is doing well now. Doctors warn parents to keep an eye on a child, watching for difficulty breathing, coughing or lethargy, if they have taken in water in an incident like Ronin’s.

Parents should take their child to the emergency room immediately. And other experts say, teach your child to swim, and if you have a pool, keep the gates locked. And when poolside with your child, never take your eyes off them.

As for Kujawa, she says, “I now know that you literally cannot turn your back for literally five seconds."

"I am forever changed since this happened," she writes on her blog. "I will not let this define me but you can guarantee that I will be doing things much differently from here on out. It was a huge wake-up call. And it really taught me that yes...in just a few seconds your life can change forever. I got a too close taste of what that really can be like."

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