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21st Jul 2022

Busted’s Charlie Simpson reveals his son suffered secondary drowning

Kat O'Connor

“At no point was he left unattended”

Busted’s Charlie Simpson has warned parents about secondary drowning after his youngest son Jago was hospitalised.

The dad has urged parents to be aware of the symptoms after their family holiday took a terrifying turn.

“Jago is a strong swimmer for his age and he was swimming underwater but suddenly came up spluttering and coughing.

“At no point was he left unattended,” Charlie stressed.

The dad said it was only momentary and his son carried on with the day. “We got him out and he seemed fine and happy and was completely normal for the rest of the day.”

However, just after dinner, Jago started vomiting. Charlie and his wife called a doctor who diagnosed the young boy with food poisoning, but things changed when Charlie mentioned his son was coughing in the pool during the morning.

“I remembered reading about a condition called secondary drowning, so I relayed it to the doctor. After hearing this, his demeanor changed and he told us to go to A&E straight away.”

“It takes less than half a glass of inhaled water to drown.”

Jago’s condition worsened on their way to the hospital. He started to drift in and out of consciousness.

“He was rushed through to have CT scans and X-Rays and to our absolute horror, we were told that he had water in his lungs and was minutes away from pneumonia.”


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Doctors then diagnosed Charlie’s son with secondary drowning.

The dad said it was the most intense and terrifying thing he has experienced.

“The scariest thing of all is that had we not taken him to the hospital when we did, the outcome could have been very different.”

Charlie urged parents to be aware of secondary drowning because it can happen so easily.

“After doing a lot of research, secondary drowning is seemingly quite rare but even so, not talked about.

“It takes less than half a glass of inhaled water to drown. Symptoms can start as long as 72 hours after the event which can make them hard to diagnose. These include vomiting, fever, laboured breathing, and lethargy.”

According to Healthline, secondary drowning is caused by water that accumulates in the lungs.

“It’s more similar to what we think of as “real” drowning because it involves your lungs filling up with water.

“The water then causes breathing difficulties. Both dry drowning and secondary drowning are serious health conditions that can be fatal.”