19 answers

Cold Child Turning Blue in the Not So Cold Pool

Hi Moms,
My 2.5 y/o started turning blue in the pool. She was having fun, and moving around, but she was a little cold. Her lips turned blue, and also a little from her fingertips to elbows. The pool was indoor and was slighty heated, not super warm, but tolerable. I couldn't tell you what the temperature was. Anyway, I put her in an adjacent hot tub (not too hot) for a minute and her color came back. Has anyone had experience with this? Is this bad circulation /indicative of a heart problem?

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I taught swimming lessons for years in the heat of the summer in Florida. With the younger children we never went over 30 minutes due to the fact that their bodies can't regulate temperature like adults. We always recommended no longer than 30 minutes at a time for any type of water play for kids under 5. Take a break to warm up and then come back to it.

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I was a lifeguard all through my teen years, and for whatever reason they always made me teach the toddler swim lessons. It is extremely common and normal for little ones to turn blue in the pool. They just don't have the body mass that adults or older children do, so they get cold easier! Whenever I noticed a child getting blue lips or shivering, I'd have them get out and lay on their tummies on the warm pool deck (putting your daughter in the hot tub worked the same way). Generally speaking, kids this age can only be in a pool for 20 minutes before they get cold (and that's in a pool that's 80 degrees). Just to let you know, on an average day of swimming lessons, I ended up teaching about 50 2-year olds, and about 90% of them were laying on the pool deck and one point or another in our 30-minute lessons! The only ones who didn't need to lay outside the pool were the ones who were really big and/or fat for their age.

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Hi L.,

My daughter is always cold in pools no matter what the temp is. Sometimes she turns a bit blue on her legs. She is 2.5 y/o too. We got her a wetsuit. It worked great. We purchased it at Aquan Sports in San Carlos. They have a pretty good selection for kids. Have a great summer.


My son loves the water and can stay in any water for hours, but he does shiver and turn blue easily. He is very thin and this is probably a factor. I don't think your daughter has any medical problem, she just gets cold easily, but I would take her out and warm her up when this happens. I've heard that you can actually get hypothermia even in warm water if you are in for long periods of time. So I think getting her out for a little while and having her warm up is good, but don't worry too much.
Good luck

Hi L.,

Having taught parent/child adjustment to water classes for several years and managing pools, I have noticed infants/toddlers turning blue from time to time. Most of the time this has been due to water or air temperature being too cold, the child being in the water for too long, the child not moving around enough or a wet area of the body is now above the water level. Once the shoulders, chest and/or back are wet, they need to stay under the water.
I can't answer your question about it being due to bad circulation or indicative of a heart problem. If you do have concerns about that, you should call an advice nurse at your pediatrician's office.

Talk to doctor about Cold Uticaria (not sure on spelling) or Reynaud's syndrome. My daughter has both, gets blue lips, toes and fingers. We use allegra prescribed by doctor when she goes swimming even is super hot summer weather, uses hand and toe warmers in winter and hot water often to stop swelling. They tested with an ice cube. She was diagnosed at 17 no symptoms showed until then. Not a huge thing it's just an inconvienence.

Good luck,

We were in the pool today and it was 100* out here in Alameda. My son's lips also turned purple as did his finger tips (as usual). He ALWAYS gets purple extremities when in the water, no matter the weather. I've always chalked it up to the fact that I'm sure he's got about only 5% body fat, as opposed to me, who is probably up at around 25% body fat. I wouldn't worry, however, you should probably ask your ped. just to make sure you're not overlooking something.

Hi, you said she was 2 1/2? If she had a heart problem, her pediatrician should have picked up by now when she has had check ups but sometimes they do not get caught. I am a heart mom and my heart healthy daughter turns blue in the pool and she is 5. Funny my heart kid used to turn blue in the pool at that age but he doesn't anymore. He is 11 now. When he was younger he used to turn blue and I would take him out and let him warm up a while and he would pink right back up. If you are concerned he has a heart problem, take him to his pediatrician if it gives you peace of mind. Don't go online and look things up because a heart condition cannot be diagnosed by looking online. It can only just scare the pants off you by reading what you find online and can be misleading. If he has a heart condition, you may want to keep an eye on certain things when he is NOT in the pool like becoming cyanotic (turning a blueish gray on the tips of fingers, her hands, tips of toes, bottom of feet, around the mouth and nose) when playing or running amd how long it lasts. Whether they are having a hard time breathing (labored). These are things that COULD be a sign of a heart condition. Like I said, coming from a mother who has a child with a heart condition and whose child has been through open heart surgery, talk to your pediatrician and tell him your concerns. It will give you a better peace of mind. Keep us posted.

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