child using sauna

Can Children and Adults Use a Sauna Safely?

If you have heard of how beneficial saunas are and have experienced these benefits first hand, it is quite understandable that you would want to take it a step further and include your children but can both kids and adults use a sauna safely?  Speaking of safety a lot of people wonder if saunas are safe for children. However, the answer to this question, unfortunately, is not straightforward. In this post, we will be considering the age group that can safely make use of saunas.

In this case, we refer to children as those below puberty stage. Children that are below 13-15 fall in this range. That is, if your child is from 2-15, they may still be below puberty stage.

In Finland, the home of saunas, children as little as 6 years old are allowed in saunas. However, there is a catch. The children are never allowed in unsupervised. The reason children aged 5 and below may not stay in saunas is because they do not have any control over their body’s adjustments. This means that their bodies’ cannot adapt to high temperatures like adults can.

As we age, our bodies gain the ability to adapt to temperature changes. This is a feature that children do not have and so saunas could be dangerous to them.

However, it does not just end there. While a child under five should not be allowed in a regular sauna, children between 6 and 12 should not be allowed in saunas for more than 15-20 minutes. They should also be supervised. Before a person is allowed to stay in a sauna for a longer period and unsupervised, he or she should have well past the childhood stage.

In addition, if you know you will be sharing your sauna with your children, you should buy an infrared sauna as it is safer and more potent. Infrared saunas, as the name implies, work through infrared heaters. These heaters emit infrared lights which are absorbed into the body. These types of saunas are fast becoming the most popular type as they fit into the technological age which we are in. Experts prefer this type of saunas as they are safe and easy to control and adjust. Another variation to infrared saunas are the infrared sauna blankets as they come in portable sized and working similar to an infrared sauna.

You should also know that there are some special saunas created for children between the ages of 2 and 5. These saunas are designed to be extremely safe and allow the children to be monitored as they use it. As their bodies cannot regulate heat so well, the saunas are designed to be very mild.

In summary, for children below adolescent stages, they should be allowed in regular saunas only if they are supervised and they should not be allowed more than 15-20 minutes. If you want your child below the age of six in one, get a children’s sauna for safety purposes.

Age Limit For Safe Sauna Use

When it comes to saunas, senior citizens are not left out. A senior citizen can enjoy a sauna even though he or she has never used one before. Of course, those who have been using it before can continue to use it. However, newcomers are welcome too.

As we have discussed many times, saunas have plenty of health benefits and so not only are they safe for old people, they can actually be quite beneficial.

Pregnant Women and Safe Saunas

A very valid question that should be asked is on the safety of saunas during pregnancy. A lot of people reason that saunas would be very great for pregnancy as it would help alleviate aches and pains and generally leave the expectant mother comfortable and safe.

However, this is not the case. For your body, the heat might help but it will not have the same effect on your baby. Remember why we said that children should be kept away from saunas? We stated that small children cannot regulate their body temperatures. This is even much more true for a fetus in the womb. They have even less ability than children so it is considered as unsafe for an unborn.

Studies have shown that if a pregnant woman is exposed to extreme heat at any time during her first trimester, her baby has a higher chance of having birth defects, brain issues, or spinal cord defects. Studies have also shown that extreme heat can cause miscarriages. During pregnancy, rather than alleviate any problems you might have, a sauna can even worsen it.

It is best to stay away from saunas during the duration of your pregnancy. Although some women have used saunas during their pregnancies and have come to no harm, it is much better to avoid it. However, if your doctor gives you the ‘go ahead, do not spend more than 15-20 minutes inside. Remember that it is for the greater good.

Who Should Not Use A Sauna?

According to research, people with illnesses such as heart diseases can safely use a sauna. A sauna helps manage these problems. However, there are some types of people that are better off without saunas.

  • Pregnant women.
  • Small children under six-years of age.
  • People on certain medications.
  • People with swollen joints.
  • Persons with some particular illnesses.

Pregnant women, of course, should not use saunas for reasons already discussed above. Similarly, little children should be put off saunas for the time being. If you have a swollen joint, hold off on saunas. When you have a swell, you must have noticed that the swelling is pressed with something cold? The reason is that cold helps reduce swelling while heat actually worsens inflammation. If you have a sauna, avoid using it when you have any swellings.

If you are on any medication or have any health issues at all, check with your doctor about how safe it is for you to use a sauna. You must inform him about the type of sauna you want to use as that may edit the verdict. Remember that your body can only take so much heat. If the heat gets too much step out.

Final Thoughts…

Saunas are really beneficial when used right. Points to remember:

  • Normal saunas are for children above age 6.
  • Supervise children above age 6 in saunas.
  • There are specially designed saunas for kids aged 2-5.
  • Saunas should be avoided during pregnancy.
  • If you have any issue at all, consult your doctor first.

About Sammy

Can Children and Adults Use a Sauna Safely?Sammy McCoy is a fitness expert and life coach. She has been in the industry professionally for almost two decades. When she is not mentoring her students on her masterclass sessions, she is either writing or doing some karaoke.

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