Can Kids Go in a Sauna? What Parents Should Know (10 Must-Know Tips)

Hello there, fellow parent. As you are probably curious, can kids go in a sauna? I know it’s a question that’s crossed my mind a few times when my kids have pestered me to join me in our infrared sauna.

I typically use the sauna to escape my kids for a few minutes of peace and quiet, but hey sometimes I enjoy their company, too (when they’re not fighting). But should they join me? Can they enjoy the benefits of the sauna, or is it strictly an adult zone?

The reality is there’s no universal answer. You must consider the sauna age limit and remember that each kid is different.

When it comes to sauna for kids, the absence of clear guidelines can make your choices tricky. We’ll look into what age is safe for sauna, talk about if it is safe for kids to use a sauna, and cover the do’s for kids before and after a sauna session (just like we do as adults).

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What Happens to Kids’ Bodies in the Sauna?

When kids enter a sauna, their bodies respond differently than adults. The heat impacts them, both physically and physiologically. It’s more than just breaking a sweat. Their heart rates increase, and they begin to sweat more. This is their body’s natural way to maintain a stable body temperature.

In Finland, saunas are a significant part of the culture, and children are introduced to them at an early age. It’s a tradition that’s deeply ingrained in Finnish families. However, it’s crucial to remember that each child is unique, and what’s expected in Finland may only be suitable for some.

But how does this heat exposure affect children? A comprehensive study, detailed in the article “The Sauna and Children,” sheds light on this. The research dives into the physiological changes kids undergo in the sauna. 

It notes that while children can adjust to the heat, their bodies work harder to cool down than adults. This is crucial information for any parent considering a sauna session for their kids. It emphasizes the need for adult supervision and special considerations like keeping plenty of water at hand and monitoring the time spent in the heat.

So, before planning a sauna with children, it’s wise to consider these insights and, as always, consult with adolescent doctors or your child’s healthcare provider for personalized advice.

Can Kids Go in the Sauna?

“Can kids go in a sauna?” often sparks a mix of opinions. It’s a decision that requires a balanced view, considering the potential benefits and necessary precautions.

Is it safe for kids to use a sauna? It can be, under the right conditions. 

On the one hand, saunas are known for their health benefits, which can also extend to kids in sauna settings. The gentle heat of a sauna can offer relaxation and may aid in hormonal regulation. For some healthy children, a sauna session can be a calm moment, helping reduce emotional stress.

However, it’s crucial to consider the sauna age limit. Not all saunas are suitable for children, and what age is safe for sauna use can vary. Young bodies react differently to heat. Their body temperature regulation is still developing, making them more sensitive to extreme heat. 

Mother and daughter in infrared sauna

5 Things to Keep in Mind for Safe Sauna Use with Children 

When considering a sauna session for your little ones, it’s crucial to approach it with care and knowledge. Sauna for kids can be beneficial, but it requires mindful preparation and awareness of their unique needs. Here are key points to ensure a safe sauna experience for your children:

1. Parental Supervision

Always pay attention to the importance of parental supervision in the sauna. Always keep an eye on your kids. Even a moment alone can be too long. Saunas are relaxing, but safety comes first, especially with kids in sauna.

2. Age Considerations

When it comes to kids in sauna settings, age is more than just a number. It’s about understanding your child’s unique needs and how they handle different environments. While there’s no strict sauna age limit, here are some general thoughts to consider:

  • Under 5: Extra caution is needed. Their little bodies are still learning to regulate body temperature efficiently. It’s often best to wait until they’re older or limit sauna sessions to very short periods under close supervision.
  • Ages 5-12: This is a time of exploration and growing independence, but guidance is key when it comes to saunas. Start with shorter sessions and lower temperatures. Watch closely how they react to the heat.
  • 12 and up: Generally, older children might be more ready to enjoy a sauna. They’re better at communicating their comfort levels and can handle more heat. Even so, keeping an eye on them and setting clear rules is crucial.

Remember, these are not hard and fast rules. Each child is unique. Some might find the sauna relaxing, while others might not enjoy the heat. And always, an earlier parent or guardian is essential to monitor and ensure a safe sauna experience for every child.

3. Time Limits

Set a timer. For young kids, 5-10 minutes is a good start. Older kids might manage 10-15 minutes. But hey, if they say they’re done, it’s time to step out. Listening to their comfort level is key.

4. Hydration

Keep those fluids coming. Offer cool water or diluted fruit juice before, during, and after the sauna. Staying hydrated is non-negotiable.

5. Health Check

If your child is under the weather, has a fever, or has any skin issues, it’s a no-go. Saunas and sickness don’t mix. Be extra cautious with children having conditions like heart disease or problems with hormonal regulation.

6. Temperature Control

Start cool and go slow. Begin with lower temperatures and gradually turn up the heat. It helps kids get used to the sauna vibe without the shock of extreme heat.

Every child is unique, and what works for one may not suit another. Always prioritize your child’s well-being and comfort, and when in doubt, seek professional advice for a safe sauna experience with your junior family.

Man and child standing in sauna

10 Essential Preparations for Kids in Sauna: Before and After Sauna Sessions

Ensuring a safe sauna experience for your kids in sauna settings means being prepared. Here’s how you can set the stage for a smooth and enjoyable sauna session for your little ones:

Before Sauna:

  1. Hydration is Key: Make sure your child drinks plenty of water. Proper hydration is crucial before stepping into the heat.
  2. Light Snacking: Offer a light, healthy snack. It’s about keeping energy levels up without overloading their stomach.
  3. Health Check: Ensure your child is feeling well. Sauna for kids isn’t a good idea if they’re under the weather, especially with conditions like heart disease or skin issues.
  4. Educate and Set Expectations: Talk about what to expect. Explain how the sauna works and why staying hydrated and communicating during the sauna session is important.
  5. Sauna-Ready Clothing: Dress them appropriately. Lightweight, breathable materials are best. For more on what to wear, check out this guide What to wear (and NOT wear) in a sauna.

After Sauna:

  1. Post-Sauna Cooling: Help them cool down gradually. A dip in a kiddie pool or a lukewarm shower can do the trick.
  2. Rehydration: Offer more cool water or a hydrating drink. It’s crucial to replenish any fluids lost during the sauna.
  3. Rest and Monitor: Let them rest and keep an eye on them. Watch for any signs of discomfort or emotional stress.
  4. Nutrition: Provide a nutritious snack. It’s about replenishing their energy after the sauna session.
  5. Feedback Session: Talk about their experience. Understanding how they felt during and after the sauna can guide future sessions.

Sauna Accessories for Kids 

Creating a child-friendly sauna environment is all about the details. The right accessories can make the sauna session safer and more enjoyable for your little ones. Here are some essential sauna accessories tailored for kids in sauna settings:

  1. Kid-Sized Towels: Soft, absorbent towels are a must. They’ll keep your child comfortable and can be used for drying off or sitting in the sauna. Here’s our top pick on Amazon.
  2. Non-Slip Slippers: Safety first! Non-slip slippers will prevent any accidental slips or falls on wet floors. Here’s our top pick on Amazon.
  3. Hydration Bottles: Equip your child with a water bottle. It’s a fun way to encourage them to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. Our top pick on Amazon.
  4. Thermometer: A sauna thermometer helps you monitor the temperature inside the sauna, ensuring it’s within a safe range for your child. Our top pick on Amazon.
  5. Timer: Keep track of time with a simple, easy-to-use timer. This will help you adhere to the recommended time limits for kids in sauna sessions. Our top pick on Amazon.
  6. Cooling Hats: Sauna hats are not just for adults. They protect your child’s head from getting too hot and are available in fun designs that kids love. Our top pick on Amazon.
  7. Comfortable Seating: Small, sauna-safe chairs or benches can provide a comfortable seating option for children, especially in larger saunas where the built-in seating might be too high for little ones.

Alternatives to Sauna for Kids

While a sauna session might not be suitable for all kids in sauna scenarios, there are plenty of alternative ways to introduce your junior family members to gentle heat therapy. These alternatives can offer similar relaxation and health benefits in a more kid-friendly setting. Here are five alternatives to consider:

Kids in outdoor hot tub

Warm Baths

A controlled, warm bath can be a soothing alternative. It’s a controlled environment where you can easily manage the body temperature and ensure plenty of water for hydration. Add some fun bath toys, and it becomes a delightful experience for your child.

Supervised Hot Tubs

With strict adult supervision, a brief time in a lukewarm hot tub can be enjoyable. Ensure the water isn’t too hot and the time spent is minimal to prevent extreme heat exposure.

Heated Kiddie Pools

Slightly warm water in a kiddie pool can offer a safe and enjoyable experience. It’s a great way to introduce them to water-based heat therapy, especially during cooler days.

Warm Compresses

For targeted warmth, consider using warm compresses on specific areas. It’s a smart choice for providing comfort and warmth without the intensity of a full sauna.

Foot Soaks

A warm foot soak can be both relaxing and fun for kids. It’s a gentle way to introduce them to heat therapy. Ensure the water is just warm and not hot, and always supervise the activity.

When considering these alternatives, remember the importance of parental understanding and adult supervision. With the right approach and precautions, these alternatives can offer a safe and enjoyable way for your kids to unwind and experience the benefits of gentle heat therapy.

Are There Sauna Risks for Children?

Yes, taking kids in sauna settings can have risks. It’s important to know these before deciding if a sauna is right for your child.

Thermoregulatory Challenges

Kids’ bodies are still learning how to control their body temperature. This makes them more likely to get too hot or dehydrated in a sauna. They can’t adjust to the heat as well as adults can. So, it’s crucial to keep an eye on them. Make sure they drink plenty of water too.

Heatstroke Risk

Heatstroke is a big risk in saunas, especially for kids. If the body gets too hot, it can’t cool down. This is dangerous and can harm the brain and other vital organs. Watch for signs like feeling dizzy, sick, or confused. If you see these, act fast.

Cardiovascular Strain

The heart works harder in a sauna. This is even more true for kids. If a child has heart problems, a sauna can be risky. The heat makes the heart beat faster and raises blood pressure. This puts extra stress on the heart.

Making the Right Choice – Sauna for Kids

As we conclude, it’s clear that the decision to introduce kids to sauna sessions is significant. It’s not just about asking, “Can kids go in a sauna?” It’s about understanding each child’s needs and making choices that keep them safe and happy.

First, remember that sauna for kids is not a one-size-fits-all situation. Kids are different, and so are their reactions to heat. It’s crucial to consider the sauna age limit and be aware of how each child handles the sauna environment. For some, it’s a relaxing experience. For others, it might not be the best idea.

Kids giving thumbs up

Article Wrap Up

In wrapping this article up, being informed and cautious is key. Know the risks like heatstroke and cardiovascular strain. These are serious and can affect healthy children differently. 

Talk to a doctor before you decide. They can offer advice based on your child’s health. This is especially important if your child has conditions like heart disease or issues with hormonal regulation.

Finally, we’d love to hear from you. Share your stories or questions about sauna with children. Your experiences can help other parents make the smartest choice for their junior family members. Together, we can ensure that a sauna session is a safe sauna and a common sauna pleasure for everyone.

Disclaimer: We are merely sauna enthusiasts. We are NOT medical professionals. It is highly recommended you speak with a healthcare professional before allowing your child in the sauna with you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will my children even enjoy the sauna?

Kids might enjoy the sauna, but it depends on the child. Some find it relaxing, while others might not like the heat. Start with short sessions and see how they feel.

Can my kids use my current sauna?

Yes, kids can use your current sauna with proper supervision and safety measures. Ensure the temperature is suitable for their age and keep sessions brief.

What age is safe for sauna?

There’s no universally safe age for sauna use, as it varies with each child. Here’s a general guide (but remember, every child is different):

  • Under 5: Be very cautious. Young kids are still developing temperature control. It’s often better to wait or keep sauna visits very short and under close watch.
  • Ages 5-12: Kids are curious and growing. Start with shorter, cooler sauna sessions. Watch how they handle the heat.
  • 12 and up: Older kids are usually more sauna-ready. They can communicate better and tolerate a bit more heat. Still, supervision and rules are important.

A message from Sauna Squad

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