Bath-induced paroxysmal disorders in infancy

Eur J Paediatr Neurol. 2009 May;13(3):203-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpn.2008.04.004. Epub 2008 Jun 20.


We reviewed those paroxysmal disorders of infancy and of the newborn in which the normal process of bathing may be an important trigger. We focused on infant bathing in normal temperature water (37 degrees C, range 36-38 degrees C) rather than in hot water that is above body temperature. Four principal diagnostic categories emerged: bathing epilepsy, alternating hemiplegia of childhood, hyperekplexia and paroxysmal extreme pain disorder. Bathing or water immersion epilepsy was the best studied and is arguably distinct from hot water epilepsy. The paroxysmal episodes previously attributed to aquagenic urticaria may have been examples of bathing epilepsy with a genetic component. Despite suggestions in the literature to the contrary, no convincing reports of bath-induced infantile syncope have been found. The underlying mechanisms of bath-induced paroxysmal disorders in infancy remain poorly understood, but all have autonomic manifestations and some if not all may be channelopathies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Baths*
  • Epilepsy, Reflex / etiology*
  • Epilepsy, Reflex / physiopathology
  • Hemiplegia / etiology*
  • Hemiplegia / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Syncope / etiology*
  • Syncope / physiopathology
  • Temperature
  • Water*


  • Water