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Ask Dr. Yogindra Vasavada Your Own Question
Dr. Yogindra Vasavada
Dr. Yogindra Vasavada, Pediatrician
Category: Pediatrics
Satisfied Customers: 3075
Experience:  M.D.(ped) passed at first attempt, in practice continuously for last 37 years. Certi. in Comp
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is it safe for a 5 year old to get in a hot tub Stepson in

Customer Question

is it safe for a 5 year old to get in a hot tub? Stepson in hot tub a lot with his mother lately. Picked him up and he was flushed and then ran a fever and threw up bad. Was swimming and acting like a "shark" underwater in the hot tub.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Pediatrics
Expert:  Dr. David replied 6 years ago.
Hello and thank you for your post. I am sorry that your stepson has been sick lately.

Regarding your question, I would suspect that the vomiting and fever are not related to the hot tub. However, I would check the temperature of the water. We usually recommend that bathtubs be set at no more than 120 degrees F. If it feels too hot for him or is hotter than this, it probably is and I would stick to more tepid temperatures. I would also watch his skin to make sure that he does not get any infections there as these can be spread by hot tubs ("hot tub folliculitis").

I hope this helps. Please let me know if I can help further. Best of luck and I hope he is feeling better soon. Sincerely, XXXXX XXXXX
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

He had drank some of this water - there was nothing else wrong with him. Also, this is a child that has a strong memory and relate everything back to you verbatim and if you tell a story and don't relay it exactly like it was said he will correct you. Then noticed about 3 weeks ago that he was having memory problems, even with names, so much so that it was very disturbing to us. After finding out that he has been spending a lot of time in the hot tub with his mother, we look up dangers and saw that brain damage could be one and that there is also the chance of getting legionnaries disease, etc. I am against a child/toddler being in a hot tub - especially a public hot tub at an apartment where his mother is putting him in. I have heard of many dangers associated with children and hot tubs. Am I not suppose to be concerned with this?

Expert:  Dr. David replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for the further questions. I will do my best to address your questions.

(1) Memory problems seem to me to be unlikely to be due to the hottub. I would certainly have him checked out by his pediatrician for this however. More tests need to be done. This is an unusual symptom in someone his age.

(2) I did not realize that this was a public hottub. This might increase the risk of infectious diseases somewhat. There is very little data on this. You should know that Legionella (Legionnaire's disease) is exceptionally rare in children--the infectious disease specialist at our children's hospital said he has seen one case in 20 years. If you wish to be on the safe side, I think it is fine to have him avoid it. Again there simply isn't data on this so I can't say that his chances of getting a certain disease is a specific number. I do worry about the temperature however.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if I can help further. I hope he does great. Sincerely, XXXXX XXXXX
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
So - you're saying that hot temperatures, etc., will not cause brain damage in children? He has a problem with his skin when we get him back from his mother that his skin is very rough and he tends to drink a lot. After applying lotion to him it helps, but even his cheeks have a "rough" like wind chapped feel - and now knowing about the hot tub and him constantly being in it, could this cause his skin to be this way. This child only weighs 40lbs - I would think the size and considering the temperature would play on this. Is there someone that is versed in hot tubs and toddlers. I've always heard bad things about this and the responses I am getting from you does not make me feel comfortable at all - afraid of the risk and prolonged damage that can result from this.
Expert:  Dr. David replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for the further questions.

Neurologic damage from hottubs without evidence of burns or drowning is not something that has been described in the medical literature. I have done another literature search to see if I could find anything and was unable to find anything.

The skin reaction does not suggest any neurologic problem, but again if you are worried about a neurologic issue from any cause I would have it checked out.

If you are feeling uncomfortable with my answer, no problem--I will happily opt-out and see if any of the other pediatricians can give you an answer you are more comfortable with.

Best wishes and good luck, Dr David

Edited by Dr David on 3/10/2010 at 5:35 PM EST
Expert:  Dr. Yogindra Vasavada replied 6 years ago.

Hello P,

I agree with your concern about unhygienic condition of community hot-tub of an apartment. Certainly a five year old cannot be having general immunity, which is just starting to get built up, to avoid catching infections of all sorts repeatedly.

Children should best be bathed in their own quota of bath-water, and even family members should not have mixed bath especially in a tub.

Sometimes such tub water is chlorinated and dissolved chlorine is also bad for respiratory and nervous systems.