How cold is too cold to let your child go swimming? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 09-01-2009, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Today, the high will be a 71 degree high. That won't be until 4-5 o'clock. Right now, it's 58 degrees, last night, it was 55 degrees. Temperatures have been about the same for the last four or five days, so the water shouldn't have any residual warmth in it. My little girl wants to go swimming in the backyard pool today. The backyard is shaded until late in the afternoon, btw. My Hubby tends to be very... relaxed... about weather issues, he figures if she asks, she can go in. I am completely against it. Would you let your child swim under these circumstances?

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#2 of 24 Old 09-01-2009, 10:23 AM
 
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I'd let her go! It's only going to get colder, and when it's too cold for her, she won't want to swim. The water temperature matters a lot more than the air temperature - swimming in a heated pool is no big deal even in sub freezing temperatures. Even if the pool isn't heated, if she finds the water warm enough to swim in, I'd let her go. The water is probably still warmer than the air at this point in the year. Just have a big towel, dry clothes and a warm drink ready for her when she gets out.
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#3 of 24 Old 09-01-2009, 10:32 AM
 
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No kids yet, so take it for what it's worth, but I think I would let her swim. I grew up in Wisconsin, and I swam on many a cool day. If she's really uncomfortable, she'll probably want to get out on her own. If she started to seriously shiver, or if her little lips were losing their color, I would tell her that swimming time was over.

Other than that, I would just have comfy clothes and something warm to eat ready for when she's done.
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#4 of 24 Old 09-01-2009, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Even if the pool isn't heated, if she finds the water warm enough to swim in, I'd let her go. The water is probably still warmer than the air at this point in the year. Just have a big towel, dry clothes and a warm drink ready for her when she gets out.
Well, that's the thing, she'll swim, even while she's turning blue and shivering-no exaggeration. She loves the water. I won't be there- my Hubby will be there for the first half of the day, then my Father-in-Law will take over so he can go to work. I'm stuck at wrk all day. The big towel, dry clothes and warm drink may or may not happen, and calling her out of the pool because she's turning blue may or may not happen- "Oh, but she's having so much fun..." (Also, my Father-in-Law keeps the pool open until the end of September, because we usually have 80 degree days here until about that time. I'm not sure why this week has been so cold- it's not the usual.) You don't think at a certain point, it can be unhealthy to swim in cold water in cold weather?

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#5 of 24 Old 09-01-2009, 10:34 AM
 
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We don't swim unless it is about 85 degrees outside. And, the whole time, we complain about how cold it is. LOL
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#6 of 24 Old 09-01-2009, 10:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Oztok5 View Post
If she's really uncomfortable, she'll probably want to get out on her own. If she started to seriously shiver, or if her little lips were losing their color, I would tell her that swimming time was over.
Lol We cross posted. That's mainly my issue- nobody there will tell her to get out if she gets that cold. They figure "if she's cold enough, she'll get out", but this kid would swim in ice if we let her. She'll FEEL the cold (and will take all night to warm up after), but she likes swimming too much to come out, no matter how uncomfortable she is. I won't be there to make her get out, so she very well might be swimming the 6-8 hours I'm not home and my Hubby and Father-in-Law are.

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#7 of 24 Old 09-01-2009, 10:53 AM
 
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Lol We cross posted. That's mainly my issue- nobody there will tell her to get out if she gets that cold. They figure "if she's cold enough, she'll get out", but this kid would swim in ice if we let her. She'll FEEL the cold (and will take all night to warm up after), but she likes swimming too much to come out, no matter how uncomfortable she is. I won't be there to make her get out, so she very well might be swimming the 6-8 hours I'm not home and my Hubby and Father-in-Law are.
Yeah, you not being there makes it a harder decision. Do you think that if you guys set a time limit together before you leave that would help? That way there would be no subjective judgment as to as to if she's, "too cold." Instead, it would just be, "Ok your hour and a half is up, it's time to get out of the pool." I'm sure she won't be thrilled if she wants to stay in all day, but it would probably be better than nothing.

Honestly, I swam in some really cold water (think trout stream in northern Wisconsin), and I'm really no worse for it. I would hope that if it got to the point of being dangerous, any responsible adult would make sure she got out.
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#8 of 24 Old 09-01-2009, 10:55 AM
 
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My daughter will swim while her lips turn blue and her teeth chatter. The big issue with that is that no adult will want to swim WITH her when it's that cold and I'm not having her in the pool without someone else in the water.

I say if your husband and FIL are willing to be in the pool with her (I assume she's younger if you're having this cold issue), then fine. But if they're going to consider it too cold to swim themselves then no swimming.
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#9 of 24 Old 09-01-2009, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, you not being there makes it a harder decision. Do you think that if you guys set a time limit together before you leave that would help? That way there would be no subjective judgment as to as to if she's, "too cold." Instead, it would just be, "Ok your hour and a half is up, it's time to get out of the pool." I'm sure she won't be thrilled if she wants to stay in all day, but it would probably be better than nothing.
I like that. I'm gonna suggest that.

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I would hope that if it got to the point of being dangerous, any responsible adult would make sure she got out.
It's all a matter or perspective. My Hubby doesn't get cold, PERIOD. I joke that he could walk naked in a blizzard and not get cold, but that's really not too far from the truth. Unfortunately, even though he's a reasonable adult, it's easy for him to forget that even though he might be comfortable, even warm, his daughter might be freezing her butt off.

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#10 of 24 Old 09-01-2009, 11:10 AM
 
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It's all a matter or perspective. My Hubby doesn't get cold, PERIOD. I joke that he could walk naked in a blizzard and not get cold, but that's really not too far from the truth. Unfortunately, even though he's a reasonable adult, it's easy for him to forget that even though he might be comfortable, even warm, his daughter might be freezing her butt off.

Are our husbands brothers? I have absolutely seen my DH go outside in shorts during a snow storm on multiple occasions.

I hope you guys are able to figure something out!
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#11 of 24 Old 09-01-2009, 11:35 AM
 
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You don't think at a certain point, it can be unhealthy to swim in cold water in cold weather?
It sounds as if she's done it several times before. Has she suffered any ill effects in the past? Honestly, I'd be surprised if it is actually unhealthy. I'd be interested in learning if it is, though.

If my dd wanted to swim, and my husband said it was ok, I'd trust him to manage the situation. I'm not as certain I'd trust my FIL (maybe I would, but maybe not....it isn't his kid, afterall). I might ask my husband to back me up with "no swimming after dad leaves".
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#12 of 24 Old 09-01-2009, 12:05 PM
 
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It was chilly out yesterday, and my kids swam. They had fun, they didn't turn blue, and they're capable of getting out if they're uncomfortable. *I* sure as heck wasn't getting in the pool, but I'm not going to stop my kids from swimming without a good reason. A little chilly isn't a good reason.

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#13 of 24 Old 09-01-2009, 12:13 PM
 
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The Atlantic here in Nova Scotia is easily that cold many days of the summer! My son swims as long as he wants and has since he was very small. Maybe because if we waited for it to warm up he'd never gett o swim? If he's too cold he gets out but he's often purplish by the time he decides to get out. He's never gotten sick though. I, on the other hand, will not swim in water like that. I walk in the waves and my ankles hurt. Seriously. It's so cold. He seems to have less feeling than I do or he likes swimming that much more. Either way, I don't consider it harmful.

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#14 of 24 Old 09-01-2009, 12:13 PM
 
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I'd let her swim. She probably won't stay in for very long, but she doesn't have too many days left of this.

I have to say.. it's been over 110 degrees here lately. So, I'm slightly jealous of your 71.

I personally would never even dream of getting wet when it's only 71 degrees out. But, I remember as a kid, we would get in the backyard pool every New Year's day. (no idea why) and it was colder than 71 degrees.
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#15 of 24 Old 09-01-2009, 06:39 PM
 
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I think it depends on the kid to an extent. Our local pool does not even open unless it is at least 70 degrees. So, there is no chance to swim below that. I have two guys who will swim in the low 70s. I have another, incredibly skinny, guy who turns blue, shivering cold, if it is below 88 degrees! Literally, I am sweating and I need to wrap him in towels to stop the shaking.

If your daughter is comfortable and you are okay being outside watching her, I don't see any harm in it if she is otherwise healthy. Have fun!

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#16 of 24 Old 09-01-2009, 07:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It sounds as if she's done it several times before. Has she suffered any ill effects in the past? Honestly, I'd be surprised if it is actually unhealthy. I'd be interested in learning if it is, though.
She's done it before, partly because of her love of water (real water baby) and partly for trying to show off for Daddy, be like Daddy. Both my kids do that- "Why do I have to wear a coat when it's snowing? Daddy doesn't have to." In the past, she's got to the point where she's got blue lips and shivering for hours after. That's why I worry about the unhealthy part- hypothermia? Unneccesary stressing the body?

By the way, it turned into a non-issue. Apparently, my Father-in-Law thought the Bronx Zoo would be a good plan for today, so nobody even thought of swimming.

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#17 of 24 Old 09-01-2009, 07:50 PM
 
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I'd let her go, if it were me. I'd just keep a close eye on her, in case she seemed to be getting cold and didn't realize it. I wouldn't find 58 anywhere close to too cold to swim. But, then, I tend to prefer colder, rainy days to go swimming outdoors myself.

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#18 of 24 Old 09-01-2009, 08:07 PM
 
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I would let my kids go swimming any time they want. If it is too cold, they get out. When they do go out from cold swims, we snuggle up, have hot chocolate, etc.

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#19 of 24 Old 09-01-2009, 08:11 PM
 
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I read the rest of the thread.

It's not unhealthy to swim in cool/cold water when the air is also cool/cold. The concern is if the swimmer lowers his/her body temperature. So, if your dd is the type to stay in all day, even if she's cold, and your dh just doesn't get it, I think the poster who suggested a preset time limit has the right idea. I've caught a chill (ie. lowered my body temperature slightly) many times. It doesn't worry me, but I think it could be a slightly bigger deal for a small child. Also, being chilled like that can make a person somewhat more susceptible to illness, if they happen to be exposed to something.

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#20 of 24 Old 09-01-2009, 08:31 PM
 
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I see that they ended up going to the zoo instead, but in general I think you have to be able to trust the judgment of the parent in charge. If that's your DH for the day, then it's up to him.

I wouldn't be too happy if my DH left the house but issued me instructions about what I could and couldn't do with the kids while he was gone, you know?

ETA: That's all assuming that all caregivers are reasonable people who are attuned to the needs and health of the kids involved. If a person can't trust other caregivers to take adequate care of their kids, then those people probably shouldn't be left alone with the kids in the first place.

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#21 of 24 Old 09-01-2009, 10:47 PM
 
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I read the rest of the thread.

It's not unhealthy to swim in cool/cold water when the air is also cool/cold. The concern is if the swimmer lowers his/her body temperature.
Yes this...

Just wanted to add a note about my DS1's experience, & to pass along the info that there are some dangers (of course, depends on the child), --

My DS1 loves to swim, would stay in the water all day, BUT he has about zero body fat & catches a chill in even very warm water if he's in too long. He gets the "stumbly mumbly grumbly" signs of pre-hypothermia where he gets so shivery that he can't move to put on his warm layers. He has also had accute attacks of hives, due too cold, which can become anaphylactic - ie lifethreatening.

I do use 'subjective' tests (he needs to be able say "mama" without teeth chattering, no blueness, etc.) to determine when he should be out of the water. The variants of water & air temp, as well as his activity level, are too inconsistant for me to rely on a predetermined amount of time. I almost always let him go in (& am often right there with him -- water lovers all here!), I just have him come out frequently to warm up & refuel.

I know the OP resolved her situation, but I wanted to post my sons experience for general info.

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#22 of 24 Old 09-02-2009, 12:13 AM
 
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Well, I have to disagree. I wouldn't let her swim. Maybe it's because I'm from the south but that just seems way to chilly to go in the pool

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#23 of 24 Old 09-02-2009, 12:29 AM
 
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He has also had accute attacks of hives, due too cold, which can become anaphylactic - ie lifethreatening.
This is not a normal risk for most children, it is a condition called cold urticaria (I have it myself).

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#24 of 24 Old 09-02-2009, 03:30 PM
 
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I'm interested in this question also. I let my DD swim this summer in a lake when it was about 70, and my MIL practically died of horror. DD was a little cold and shivery and teeth-chattery, but I can remember feeling this way many times when swimming as a kid and obviously it never hurt me any. I tend to err on the side of letting them go in, figuring kids can self-regulate and will get out if miserable, but I do wonder at what point you have to worry about hypothermia and if it would be really obvious.

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