Guidelines for water/air temperature when swimming? - Mothering Forums
Family Safety > Guidelines for water/air temperature when swimming?
newmamalizzy's Avatar newmamalizzy 07:19 PM 07-28-2012

Hi all,


My 28 month old gets really REALLY cold when I take her swimming - shivering, blue lips, etc.  It's particularly a problem when the water is warmer than the air.  She loves swimming, but I want to be sure to steer clear of hypothermia.  Can anyone recommend a resource with guidelines for appropriate water and air temperatures for toddlers?  Is there truly a risk of hypothermia for a toddler in an 85 degree body of water on a 90+ degree day?

chel's Avatar chel 09:00 PM 07-28-2012
I think some people can regulate their body temp better than others.
Around my area, heated pools are kept at 84. So I wouldnt thinkn twice about letting a child swim, but would take them out with shivering no matter the temp.
leighi123's Avatar leighi123 11:14 PM 07-28-2012

My ds would get really really cold even in warm water when he was younger, he has always been a tiny, skinny little guy so I think that was part of it.  I got him a wetsuit and that helped a lot.     I make him get out when he looks uncomfortable, even if he is still having fun.  He can go back in once he warms up!

ameliabedelia's Avatar ameliabedelia 05:29 AM 07-29-2012

My kids go swimming in water temps in the upper 60's with air temps in the mid-70's without any problems.  They may be cold when they get out, but they would rather swim than not.   Granted, they are older than toddler age, so that might make a difference.  I grew up in the NE, and all summer we would swim in the ocean, and frequently the temps would be around that, and we were fine.




 Is there truly a risk of hypothermia for a toddler in an 85 degree body of water on a 90+ degree day?

I would think not...I can't imagine anyone getting hypothermia when it's 90+ degrees out.

Boot's Avatar Boot 10:58 AM 07-29-2012

I don't know of any guidelines but I think blue and shivering is a long way from hypothermia. I would warm her up before going back in however. 


My toddler gets cold. If she starts shivering or looking blue I take her out and take off her swimsuit and wrap her in two towels. Then I sit with her in the sun and she soon warms up. I don't take them swimming as often as I would otherwise though, simply because I'm not then in the water with my 5 year old and I can't easily get to him. He wears a life jacket so it's not so much a safety things as a behavioural thing. I would get her a wet suit but summers are so short where we live it doesn't seem worth the expense. I might still do so when she goes to swimming lessons however if she has the same trouble at the indoor pool. 

newmamalizzy's Avatar newmamalizzy 06:08 PM 07-29-2012

Yeah, I wouldn't have thought of hypothermia at all until I started googling and found some stuff that suggested it was a possibility.  For instance, major shivering and lips turning blue are listed as signs of moderate hypothermia on Wikipedia.  And this: "Water at a temperature of 26 °C (79 °F) will, after prolonged exposure, lead to hypothermia."  Toddlers lose heat more rapidly than adults, so....then all of a sudden I got worried that the chill at the beach is a little more serious than I thought.  I'm prone to worrying about stuff like this, so I'm glad to hear some grounded viewpoints.  We'll bring a few more towels to the beach from now on, just to be on the safe side.