As in many areas of British culture, children in spas pose difficult problems. On the one hand, many people visit spas for complete relaxation, and wish to enjoy peace and quiet as well as spa facilities and treatments. On the other hand, in an increasingly stressful world, we would like to be able to teach the next generation how to take care of their mental and physical health by learning to relax. And quite simply, for many it is either unthinkable or impractical to get away without the children.
Some spas offer crèche facilities for limited periods of time, which allow at least a few hours to yourself, and in time the continental attitude to children and families might drift across the Channel, or the American fashion for children-centred spas may find a gap in the market here. For expectant mothers, there are often pre-natal treatments available to help you to relax before the arrival of your baby, which take into account your special health needs (many treatments are not advised during pregnancy as they affect blood press and circulation - hydrotherapy, wraps and massage, for example).
There are some concerns, however about the physical effects of the spa environment on children and young people. In hot tubs or whirlpools, those under 10 yrs of age are less able to modify their circulatory systems to cope with the high temperatures, and consequently there may be a danger of fainting or collapse. They must also be supervised very carefully, as in any leisure environment, so that accidents are prevented particularly where there are many hard and slippery surfaces.
There may however be beneficial effects for some, perhaps with asthma, in the use of steam and sauna treatments, and in Europe, it is quite natural for children to accompany their parents in spa areas.
As Quality Standards for spas are developed, and more research is carried out, then we hope to be able to bring you more news about this issue, and to be able to search this site for spas with facilities for children.