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I went with my nearly six years old daughter to the public pool & SPA and to my surprise, I found a label saying, that children under age of 7 should avoid the jacuzzi bath. Is that true, and why is the minimum age set so high?

My wife suggests, that this is because the jacuzzi bath at that public pool is meant for aromatherapy and salt based. And that our simple, pure water home jacuzzi should cause no harm at all, neither for our older (nearly 6 years old) nor our younger (nearly 3 years old) daughter. Is that true? Can this be somehow verified?

EDIT: I'm talking about home jacuzzi bath, entirely under supervision (mine or wife's). So, arguments like chance of falling asleep are not my concern here. I'm looking only for health-like arguments.

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    Hot Tubs/Jacuzzis can be dangerous for adults because of the combination of heat and relaxation which can increase the odds of falling asleep & drowning or having some sort of heat stroke. Most hot tubs I've seen also have time limit warnings on them for adults, for these very reasons. – user11394 Feb 8 '15 at 23:47
  • Agree, but we're talking about supervised bathing of course (sorry, that I didn't mention this previously). I'll never let my daughters bath alone, at this age, no matter if in jacuzzi or in normal bath. – trejder Feb 9 '15 at 6:57
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    I figured, but I'd assume the effects would happen more quickly on a child because of their lower mass. At least the heating effects. Supervision doesn't affect thermodynamics. There's also height concerns. Also, the warning labels are likely for less responsible adults. LiveStrong and BabyCenter say 5 years minimum for the reasons I gave. It's not unusual for businesses to have more conservative limits for liability reasons. – user11394 Feb 9 '15 at 7:07
  • As for temperature, I wanted to add another edit, that I'm bathing my kinds always in the same temperature (the one, that they like and are used to), no matter, if I use bubble generator (jacuzzi) or not (regular bath). But, I resigned from this edit, because this would make this question too specific. I'm also asking about public SPAs and I want to keep this question oriented that way. But, thanks again for your valuable addition. – trejder Feb 9 '15 at 7:11
  • To clarify, by businesses I mean to include any organization or entity that would have liability risks. Even public spas are operated by some NPO, local group or local government, usually. Furthermore, the business that sells the tub to the spa would also be conservative due to liability risks. – user11394 Feb 9 '15 at 7:26
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The age limit is high pretty much entirely because of liability, the pool doesn't want young kids drowning or getting heat stroke in there. Some spas also don't want rambunctious kids romping around the adult relaxation space and will ban all under-16s. But the water in a jacuzzi is just sanitized water (chlorine, salt water or equivalent, same as a pool), and any bubbles are just air, so aside from the heat there's no medical issue as such, just supervise them properly and they'll be fine.

Source: The entire nation of Japan, where very hot baths (up to 43°C/110°F, although more typically around 40°C/104°F) are a national pastime and babies commonly bathe together with their parents. Natural onsen hot springs incorporate all sorts of minerals and these also welcome kids, although for sanitary reasons most insist that they are fully toilet-trained first.

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  • Both yours and Stephie's answers are quite similar and are oriented toward legal issues. I'm picking yours, because it is with a good quality source. Thank you. – trejder Feb 9 '15 at 7:04
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The main concern with a hot tub is the heat of the water. This is not a small concern; heated water at or above body temperature can lead to hyperthermia (overheating), and for smaller children this is a serious risk as they're less able to regulate their body temperature. They may overheat and pass out, and while you are supervising them, this is still not entirely safe; they might faint after standing up, for example, and fall on the tile or concrete (this happened to me as a teenager after spending too long in a hot tub). See this safety sheet from the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals for more information, and this well-prepared information sheet goes into some more detail. From what I've read, even if you allow your child to use the hot tub (and 6 is above the CDC age, at least), you shouldn't allow it for more than a short period - 5 to 15 minutes - at a time.

Water at higher temperatures is also more at risk for bacterial infestation. While you usually chlorinate hot tub water, particularly when you don't have control over the chlorination, you can't be sure it's done properly.

A Jacuzzi or other jet-based bath that is not heated (ie, is a normal warm bath but does not go over body temperature and is allowed to cool over time) is as safe as any other bath; the jets and bubbles do not add any particular element of danger.

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I live in Germany in an area famous for it's springs. We have multiple thermal spas and the rules of admission are different in each. When my children were young, I checked with some of them why this is the case:

I was told that each spring has a specific content of mineral salts and hence a different effect on the human body. For young children, the purifying / healing properties of some of the waters, especially combined with the rather high water temperature in a jacuzzi, can be very stressful for the circulation and affect blood pressure negatively. As these effects are hard to quantify and depend a lot on the physical condition of the user, each spa here calculates admission depending on previous experiences over decades (or centuries) of use. A certain "safety value" is most certainly included and usually the worst that should happen to a healthy child or adult is dizzyness and general fatigue for a few hours afterwards. Other rules apply in case of a heart condition or other sicknesses and it is recommended to check with a physician before going.

We have spas in the area that will admit babies (but recommend limiting the bathing time), others give a minimum age of up to eight years.

For home jacuzzis, that are simply bubbling tap water, the same rules are valid that apply to a non-bubbling bathtub.

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    "For home jacuzzis, that are simply bubbling tap water, the same rules are valid that apply to a non-bubbling bathtub." Can you please support this, since it seems to me, this is what the OP is asking. – anongoodnurse Feb 8 '15 at 22:40
  • Yes, that is exactly, what am I asking about. And, even though Stephie does not bring any scientific cite, as for now, it is how do I see this matter. For me (unless someone provide some counterarguments) this is a simple bubbling tap water and shouldn't do any more harm than normal, supervised evening bath. – trejder Feb 9 '15 at 7:02

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