As I was enjoying Disney's Aulani Resort in Oahu last week, I watched many children splashing about in the hot tubs, particularly the infinity tub near the zero-entry pool. And you know what? I thought the same thing!
I may make some parents angry, but I do not feel children should use hot tubs. I remember very clearly during my own youth the signs posting hot tubs were unsafe for children. I also spent a great deal of my early career working in health publishing, and the idea of toddlers sitting in temperatures of more than 104 degrees just seems crazy. As one wrote to Cruise Critic, "she was literally cooking her child from the inside." I agree. Children are more likely to overheat than adults, and it is why keeping infants and toddlers out of the sun for extended periods of time is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The Mayo Clinic suggests children in diapers shouldn't use a hot tub, and that if children use a hot tub, the visit should be brief so they do not overheat, as they do so more quickly than adults. They also suggest children keep their head above water, as submersing their heads increases the risk of ear infection. Children with long hair may get their hair caught in the jets, which could lead to drowning, so children should never be left in a hot tub unattended.
Both the AAP and the Mayo Clinic do not ban children from hot tubs, so hotels and cruise ships do not need to do so. It is up to parents to watch their children and make sure they are safe when using a hot tub, if they do elect to allow their children in hot tubs. Many recommend keeping infants and toddlers out of hot tubs, and allowing older children to only use the hot tub for a maximum of 20 minutes.
And to all of those vacationers calling our kids brats because they are disrupting their adult time in a hot tub, I suggest they find the adult pool and hot tub on board the cruise or at the resort, use the hot tub at night after kids go to bed, or just plain shut up (along with the same folks who complain about our "brats" on airplanes, in restaurants, and at luxury hotels).
What do YOU think?
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