Are Children Allowed in Steam and Sauna Baths?
Are Children Allowed in Steam and Sauna Baths?
I remember when I was a kid, not of a very young age, my parents used to take me to sauna. It was more of an amusement for me to run in, get some steam and immediately fly out into freezing water, all bursting into laughter, rather than a real recreation like it was for my parents. Because that is definitely an amusement for a kid. But despite all this, each parent probably is concerned about his child’s health. Can a kid’s body handle the temperature? At what age is a youngster allowed to enjoy this fun? What are the precautions to keep the procedure safe? Finally, are children allowed in sauna at all?
Most of the sources agree that kids can enter sauna. But there are several conditions. The most important one is safety – they cannot go in alone but only with the supervision and care of the parents or other adults. Moreover, some safety tips exist, such as time limit, right conditions in the sauna and aftercare. There is no defined age limit but there are some recommendations which differ across the cultures and depending on the type of sauna.
Sauna can be quite an experience for a kid. But it’s useful to know some facts before letting the little ones start experiencing this new.
At What Age Kids Can Start Using Sauna?
Depending on the culture, people take their children to a sauna from different age. For example, in Finland youngsters get to try sauna already before their first birthday because that’s how it is – Finns are famous for their inclination to enjoy sauna baths (I guess whenever you have so much snow, life would be unbearable without using it wisely, that is to say, jumping in the snow in your bathing suit after being in one hell of a heat), even though sometimes kids are given to get used to this kind of enjoyment just from the age of 5 or 6. In Germany it’s required the kid to be at least 4 months old, if he is all healthy, though some associations of pediatricians recommend the age of 1 year. In Netherlands exist two kinds of saunas – the ones with an age limit for health concerns (usually kids under 12-16 years are not allowed) and other ones which don’t have the age limit. Sometimes there are special hours for kids when the heat in the sauna is lowered.
The thing why opinions collide in this matter is how different a child’s body is to a body of an adult. It’s just that a kid until the age of 8 can’t adjust to high temperatures as much as an adult can. As soon as he enters the heated place, his temperature starts rising and keeps rising the whole time he stays in the sauna. That is why steam baths which are hotter than sauna baths are not recommended for kids under the age of 8. Also this is the reason why some places recommend parents to take their kids to saunas later than their early babyhood, just right when they are able to express themselves enough to say how they are feeling. But in most of the cases the main requirement is just to not leave the kids alone and it is widely acknowledged that saunas are healthy mentally and physically.
What Are the Precautions to Keep the Fun Safe?
Some children seem to really enjoy the amusement of heat and cold water getting through their skin to the very bones, just as much as adults do. Maybe the young ones inhabit it by seeing their parents going to saunas or maybe they are just happy to spend time together. In Finland saunas are considered as a mean to maintain social connections and bind with others, meanwhile in Germany it is more likely used for relaxation and healing. So if one is not a Finn or prefers a calm conversation with a fellow neighbor rather than a family reunion, he might encounter a situation when kids become a headache. But the most important thing is that children while running around and releasing their energy in such a distinctive place like sauna might get hurt.
Personally when I was a kid I had many physical traumas because I was very active and up to no good. I guess such brats like I was back then exist until now so parents puzzle how to handle their offsprings and at the same time to not cut them off from all the ways to explore life and their own abilities. My grandmother used to protect me from any possible harm not letting me to experience by myself and that I think did more harm than in fact some scratch on my knee. So I think no one should be freaked out about all the possible disasters which haven’t happened yet but instead they should use common sense and reasoning, based on some information how to keep their kids safe while they do their thing – enjoy the childhood.
So the main information you need to know about children going into saunas is the necessity of supervision, time limit, age circumstances and aftercare. The reasons why supervision is so necessary is that the parents need to teach kids how to use sauna safely and correctly when they start their first visits. For example, at first children should be let to stay on the middle or lower benches with a short session of 3 to 5 minutes in order not to get overheated. In the beginning such sessions should be just one at one time and later, when you see the baby’s positive reaction and that he is adapting to the heat successfully, you can increase the number of sessions up to two. When the kid is older, from 6 and up, the recommended time is from 10 to 15 minutes a day. Such sessions can be built up over a week or two. And just when the child comes into puberty, he is allowed to stay in the heat from 20 to 30 minutes. However, if the kid has any symptoms of dizziness or nausea, he should immediately leave the sauna room. It is important afterwards to take a tepid shower, have some fresh air and drink enough water. One more thing which should be taken into consideration is the maturity of the kid – is he conscious enough to understand that he shouldn’t run around in the sauna in order to not get burnt or slip. A good idea is to give his hands what to play with, like some water.
An Alternative Way for Kids to Use Sauna
There is a specific kind of sauna, a new technology which is built for kids using it safely. This type of sauna is called infrared sauna. Instead of heating the room, it uses infrared light to heat the surface of the skin, so that makes it impossible for your kid to get burnt. Moreover, the temperature there usually is much lower and that is why it is easier for the kid to handle the heat. It is a good start for a youngster to begin his experiences with this pleasurable activity.
So when I write all this I must say that probably my way to use sauna when I was a kid wasn’t the correct one. Maybe you should laugh less and be serious, try to relax and take all the healing effect you can (or just enjoy the heat, no matter how crazy it would sound for me). But if I needed to make a conclusion, I would say that sauna is definitely an experience and experiences make life more interesting. And if you are a kid when everything is so memorable, those moments spent with the family will stay for a long time in the memory.