I vividly remember my younger (stronger) brother dunking me in a lake when I was about 9 years old. That feeling of terror as I realized I couldn’t get away from him. My lungs feeling as if they were about to explode from holding my breath while I struggled. I did manage to get away without incident and still love the water though I have a terror of being dunked even at my advanced age. My brother couldn’t understand why I was so mad at what he saw as harmless teasing. Dunking someone seems as much a part of summer ritual as cannonballing, water gun fights and betting each other they can’t go off the high dive, but when does it become life-threatening? Obviously dunking a child can quickly turn dangerous if the child is held under too long and the child begins to drown, but a child can also dry drown 1-24 hours after they’ve ingested too much water – by dunking, getting knocked under by a wave or just having too much fun in a water fight to realize they’ve swallowed more than they’ve splashed. The link below gives the symptoms of possible dry drowning, which can affect children with asthma or other lung problems more easily. As parents we’d step in if we saw our child bicycling without a helmet- maybe dunking is another one of those ‘innocent’ childhood activities where the danger outweighs the fun.
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