Is it Safe for Children to Use a Sauna?
In Finland, more than 90% of all children use the sauna before the age of 7. Saunas are most definitely safe for children to use, and regular sauna use can impart health benefits to growing children.
That said, however, there are certainly some precautions to take when allowing children to use a sauna.
Take Precautions with Children in the Sauna
Young children have under-developed perspiration system and care should be taken that they do not remain in the sauna as long as an adult would. It is recommended that they remain in the sauna no longer than about 10 minutes and sit on the lower benches where the temperatures are lower. Children should never use the sauna alone. They should always use the sauna with adult supervision.
How Old Should a Child Be Before Using a Sauna?
It will really depend on the child. Before using a sauna, a child should be able to clearly express themselves and be able to state when they are physically uncomfortable. They should also be old enough to understand that they can exit the sauna as soon as they feel they are uncomfortable. If your child is not old enough to do these things, they are too young for a sauna.
Health Benefits for Children Who Use Saunas
Children who experience respiratory problems such as asthma or allergies often benefit from using a sauna. Breathing the hot air is less physically taxing for them than exercise or hot baths, and it activates muscles that open the upper respiratory tract leading to the lungs. Many children with respiratory ailments see improvement after repeated sauna use.
Some sources recommend such children use a sauna once a week for maximum health benefits.
In one German study, kindergarten children were divided into groups, with one partaking in a weekly sauna and the other not using the sauna at all. Over the next 18 months, the children who used the sauna regularly had half the number of sick days as the children who did not use the sauna.