Ask Dr. Rob: 9 Months of Speed

A skeptical reader from Houston asks:

"What are the effects of speedboats on a fetus?"

\"28_week_36364_7\" Now, I have to start out by addressing the purists out there who would point out that a child does not become a fetus officially until the 9th week of gestation, meaning that the title of this blog should actually be "7 Months of Speed."  There is one of you in every crowd, and I can honestly say that you bug the rest of us.  Here I am, just blogging away happily, exercising my poetic license and I get a cold fish whacked across my face in the form of a "well, actually" response.  Not this time, bucko!  I made sure of that!  Ha!

Besides, I think addressing the effects of speedboat on embryonic development is entirely appropriate.  After all, fetuses (or foetuses, as Shinga would say) are greatly effected by any psychological trauma from their past; as we know from developmental psychiatry many a fetus has had to has through embryonic issues such as stem-cell envy and pleuropotent procrastination.  It just makes sense to me.

The question is somewhat vague, so I will address it from every possible angle.

  • Fetuses should not eat speedboats.  Even a fully-developed digestive tract would have difficulty with the metal and fiberglass of a speedboat.  I generally warn parents about allowing children to eat any form of aquamarine transportation.  Even something as small as a Jet Ski can cause serious injury to the proximal digestive tract.  The heavy metals in the motor as well as the hydrocarbons used as fuel and lubricants are generally toxic to children and adults and may end up being shown to be a cause of autism.


  • Fetuses should not drive speedboats.  A speedboat could harm the mother if introduced to the intrauterine environment.  Once out of the intrauterine environment, the fetus is no longer a fetus, so the only way for a fetus to drive a speedboat is for the boat to be surgically introduced into the uterus of the mother.  While many advances have been made in the area of intrauterine surgery (some of it quite exciting), introduction of forms of water transportation has been reported nowhere in the medical literature.  Besides, a fetus is significantly under the legal age to drive motorized water transportation.
  • Proximity to a speedboat has no clear effect on a fetus.  A \"speedboat\"mother standing near or on a speedboat has no obvious effect on a fetus.  Exposure to ionizing radiation, such as x-rays or gamma-rays can be harmful to a fetus, but most manufacturers of speedboats stopped making boats that emit this type of radiation in the early 50\’s.  The passage of the Evenrude Act of 1952 (HR 2234) required that all manufacturers either remove radiation-emitting parts from their boats or cover the boats in lead.  Since the latter resulted in less-than-seaworthy boats, most took the former course.  So rest assured, your unborn children are safe around speedboats.
  • Speedboats do not come from fetuses.  Research into the origins of speedboats seems to indicate that there is no embryonic or fetal form of a speedboat.  Instead of coming from a female speedboat, scientists believe that speedboats come from a factory just outside of Milwaukee. 
  • \"shuttle\" Riding on speedboats makes fetuses go very fast.  Compared to controls (fetuses not on speedboats), fetuses who ride on speedboats go quite a bit faster.  The only exceptions to this are those who are compared with fetuses riding in fighter jets or space shuttles.  In that case, speedboat-riding fetuses are comparatively very slow.


There is one more important point I would like to make.  Speedboat Balloon spearing is not an appropriate activity for fetuses.  As a pediatrician, I only can say what is in the best interest of the child, and this activity uses a very sharp object which could cause serious injury.  Furthermore, the lead-tipped cords on which the balloons are suspended could cause lead poisoning. 


Thank you, Skeptical.  I hope this addresses your question.

Don\’t forget to mail your questions to me at

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