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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More Answers

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.

Did anyone else in the pool turn blue, even a little bit? If not, I definitely would get her checked out and start with the pediatrician. You were smart to warm her up quickly but remember that prolonged use of a hot tub is bad for children. Their skin can't handle it, let alone the rest of their systems.

it could be something simple but it is definitely worth checking out as it could be a sign of something else and it is always better to jump on it quickly.

Good Luck!


Hi L.,

I don't want to scare you, just have your pediatrician check her out. my youngest son does get blue lips sometimes when it is really cold. he is fine when he swims but, he has had heart problems when he was a baby.

just talk to her doctor see what he/she says about it.

Hey L.,

I would air on the side of caution, and talk with your pediatrician. Just to gain the peace of mind. Advice nurses are not the best way to go, to much run around. Your pediatrician should be able to lead you in the right direction! Having a son with heart disease as well as 3 other little boys, I would never just over look any of them turning blue. Whether it's lips, finger tips, toes etc. Being cold is one thing, but blue fingers, elbows and lips is a a red flagg, but not a trip to panic town! Let me know how it pans out!

A little about me:
SAHM to 4 beautiful boys, love friends, love fun!

Hey there, my son is the same way. He has fair skin and is a little on the thin side, so I think he just gets cold easier than other kids, but also that it shows up a lot easier because of the color of his skin. It actually became quite comical last summer, because we lived in AZ, where it's clearly not cold enough to worry about, but no pools there are heated, so in the beginning of the hot summers, before the pools are really warmed up, he would always have blue lips. Of course, I agree you should double check with your pediatricia, but I also just think some kids are more sensitive to cold water.

Until kids are 5, their bodies can't regulate its temperature like adults. So, what doesn't feel cold to you can to her.

I think it was just the cold and nothing to worry about. We had a party last Saturday and the kids were in the pool for a while and a couple of them turned blue. It was just because it was cold. I am sure your little one is fine.

I read some of your reply's and it sounds like even with the hot,hot weather we had here in California yesterday children were still turning blue in the pool. My 2 1/2 yr old daughter was one of them. The pool was 80 degrees and the air was 90 but she still shivered and lips turned a lovely shade of purple and arms and legs too! A little warm up in the hot tub seems to be the cure. I hope we get more hot weather today. It's a treat here in La Selva Beach. Have fun. R.

My brother always turned blue easily. My mom would use him as a timer. When he turned blue we all had to get out. I remember we use to beg him not to. Then as we got older we'd make him get out every few minutes so he wouldn't turn blue as fast.

I'm not sure to what extent, but I have read that little ones can't regulate their temperature as well as we can. So what your describing sounds normal to me. I would keep her out of the pool unless it's warm enough for her.

My son(4) got blue today in the 100 degree heat in his kiddie pool. It took about 30 minutes of splashing happily. I hope everything is good with your little one and hopefully just the shivers.


My daughter gets blue feet sometimes. Her doc said not to worry and that it's pretty normal. This is what WebMD has posted...

If you are concerned about a blue tinge to your baby's skin, check his entire body. An off-and-on blue cast to the hands and feet, with pink skin elsewhere, is not a sign of a problem, but rather just a little bit of immaturity to the circulatory system, which will go away over time.

When to Worry:
If there is a bluish cast over the entire body, the blood may be lacking sufficient oxygen. This is very worrisome and you should seek medical attention immediately.

But you don't need to worry if your baby's hands and feet turn blue for a short period of time when the rest of the body is pink. This is merely your baby's immature circulatory system at work.

...I hope that helps.


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