The sauna is a place that we usually associate with relaxation and unwinding, but is it a safe place for children? This question raises many questions and doubts among parents who wonder whether they can safely use the sauna with their offspring.
There are many types of saunas, which differ in temperature, humidity, and method of heating. The most popular are Finnish saunas, also known as dry saunas, where the temperature can be as high as 90-100 degrees Celsius, and humidity is very low. Other types of saunas include steam saunas, such as Turkish baths and Russian banias, infrared saunas, and herbal saunas. Each of these types of saunas has its unique properties that can affect the safety and beneficial effects of their use by children.
Benefits of a sauna visit for children
The benefits of children using a sauna are numerous. First, the sauna can help improve overall body immunity. Regular use of a sauna can help stimulate the immune system, which can increase a child’s resistance to various infections. Second, the sauna can help improve blood circulation, which in turn can benefit heart and circulatory health.
Many parents wonder if there is scientific evidence to support these benefits. Unfortunately, studies on the benefits of children using a sauna are limited. Most of the research focuses on the benefits for adults, but it is generally assumed that children can reap similar benefits, provided they use the sauna in a safe and age-appropriate manner.
Potential hazards and risk
Despite many potential benefits, using a sauna for children also involves certain risks. The most important of these is overheating. Children have a less efficient body temperature regulation system than adults, which makes them more susceptible to overheating. In extreme cases, this can lead to heat stroke, which is a serious medical condition.
Another potential hazard is dehydration. The sauna leads to intense sweating, which in turn can lead to loss of fluids and electrolytes. If these are not adequately replenished, dehydration can occur.
Similar to the benefits, the scientific evidence on the risks of children using a sauna is limited. Most information comes from studies conducted on adults or reports of individual cases. However, it is generally accepted that safety rules are key when children use a sauna.
Age when children can start using a sauna
Opinions on whether children can use a sauna vary by country. In Finland and other Scandinavian countries, families often visit the sauna together, and children as young as six months are often seen. In Germany and the Czech Republic, saunas are also accessible to school-age and pre-school children.
Advocates of this method of tempering the young organism argue that regular use of the sauna can bring health benefits to children, such as fewer upper respiratory tract infections and improvements in problems such as sleep difficulties or hyperactivity.
Nevertheless, the sauna is not recommended for infants or very small children, and temperatures in the sauna for children should be between 40 and 54 degrees Celsius, depending on their age. The safety of the child should always be a priority when using the sauna.
Safety should always be the top priority when children use the sauna. Here are some tips that can help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience:
- Preparation: Before the child enters the sauna, make sure they understand well what to expect. Explain what the sauna will look like, how it will feel in it, and how long it will be there. Also make sure the child is healthy and has no symptoms of illness that could be exacerbated by the sauna.
- Supervision: Children should always use the sauna under adult supervision. Never let a child use the sauna alone.
- Hydration: Maintaining adequate hydration is key when using the sauna. Before, during, and after the sauna session, make sure the child consumes plenty of fluids.
- Time in the sauna: Children should spend less time in the sauna than adults. It is recommended that sauna sessions for children last no longer than 2-3 minutes at a time, with breaks for cooling.
Additionally, the following aspects of physical safety should be noted:
- The floor in the sauna can be slippery, so children should walk carefully to avoid falls and injuries.
- Children should avoid direct skin contact with hot surfaces, such as sauna heaters or benches, which can cause burns.
- In public saunas, children should be informed about the need to keep a distance from other people for privacy and safety.
- Before entering the sauna, children should be checked for any health problems that could be exacerbated by using the sauna, such as heart disease or breathing problems.
- Children should always leave the sauna if they start to feel uncomfortable, dizzy, nauseous, or too hot.
Remember that every child is different and what may be safe and enjoyable for one may not necessarily be so for another. Always observe the child’s reaction to the sauna and adjust the experience to their individual needs and tolerance.