Francisco "Frankie" Delgado III had been sick for days, so his parents probably weren't surprised when he woke them up in the middle of the night last week. Frankie had been struck with stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhea, so they assumed he was sick with a flu bug. But when Frankie's parents Francisco Jr. and Tara arrived in his room, they found their 4-year-old son complaining about shoulder pain.
"Out of nowhere he just woke up. He said 'ahhh.' He took his last breath, and I didn't know what to do no more," Francisco said.
Moments later Frankie was dead, leaving his parents shocked and confused.
Doctors looking over their son told the couple that Frankie had lungs full of fluid, and there was nothing they could have done by the time he woke up in the middle of the night.
It turns out their child had died from "dry drowning," a condition so rare that few people even know it exists, but every parent should learn the signs.
Click the next page to learn more about dry drowning.
Dry drowning is a rare but dangerous condition that happens after children swallow water, and mainly affects children because their bodies are smaller. In Frankie's case, it had been almost a week since he went swimming. Unlike regular drowning, the lungs don't actually fill with water. Instead, the vocal cords tighten, closing the airway.
It only takes "a few gasps" of water, so experts warn that parents should get the children checked out if they have a "near-drowning" experience.
Signs to watch out for include mood swings, coughing, chest pain, breathing difficulties and fatigue, which all normally start a day or so after swimming.
For Francisco and Tara, they're left without the love of their life, while still stunned about what happened.
Tara says that he was "full of life" with a "big heart." Frankie's family is raising money for his funeral. If you'd like to contribute, you can donate to the family's GoFundMe page.
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