Can My Kids Use The Sauna? Are Children Safe In A Sauna?

Janne Ovaska

mother and daughter in sauna
Courtesy of © Sauna from Finland

The short answer is yes. So if that’s what you were looking for and you don’t want to read any further, there you go. Oh, unless they’re under a certain age.

The short answer leaves out some important angles to think about. Most kids can use the sauna, but can yours?

The sauna can be as good for their mental and physical health as for yours, but there are some guidelines you should follow with the kids.


  1. Supervise the young ones. Saunas are a place where accidents can happen easily. Such as burns, slips, and falls. Parents need to teach children these hazards and accompany them until they show responsibility and respect for the rules -- usually around the age of 10. Kids will learn best by watching your example. Besides, saunas together make for quality family time.
  2. How old are your kids? Generally, kids under 8 years of age can’t regulate heat as efficiently, so precautions are needed to be totally safe in the sauna. Limit the heat exposure by sitting on lower level benches and limiting steam to minimal. Give them plenty of cool water in a basin that they can play with or sit in and splash themselves to cool off as needed.
  3. Not too long now. Again, the heat regulation centers of the body aren’t as developed in young kids, so children should spend less time in the sauna than adults might. Limit their time exposure by age, 3-5 minutes for under 3 years, up to 15 minutes till they are in their mid-teens. Older kids may want leave the sauna to cool with a shower or plunge (basin, kiddie pool, lake – supervised of course) and repeat the sauna cycle again. How do parents get to enjoy the sauna with such short durations for the kids?  Parents of younger families could stagger their entry; the earlier parent enters alone, followed by other parent with the kids 15-20 minutes later. The first parent showers themselves first, and then showers, dries, and dresses the youngest child. The older kids play with water in basins on lower sauna bench or cool off in shower area while waiting for the other parent who will then shower them and send off to the first parent for drying and dressing. The last parent can then enjoy another round of sauna to relax before showering off while kids enjoy a snack.
  4. Rehydrate & replenish. Always provide a cool drink, and salty snack to replenish salts lost in sweating after sauna.

Consider Infrared

If your kids don’t like the heat of a traditional sauna, an infrared sauna might be the smartest choice for you.

Infrared saunas operate at lower temperatures -- warming you from the inside-out versus the outside-in of a traditional sauna -- so kids can handle it more readily. There is also less risk of burns as the heat source is different and more concealed. The only drawback is that infrared saunas are usually smaller and not as conducive to water play, so you will need to entertain your kids another way.

Make It Enjoyable

Kids most enjoy saunas involving swimming for a cool down, but failing that, tubs or basins filled with cool water and scoops will certainly do the trick. Saunas provide a great place for more splashing than baths allow. What kid doesn’t like to play with water?

Another fun way to help your kids stay comfortable in the heat is to let them wear a sauna hat. These stylish wool hats will protect their hair and ears from the hot steam.

Whether infrared or traditional, make sure you teach your kids to respect the sauna experience to stay safe and enjoy the relaxation.

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