The question of whether children and teenagers can use spas is not a one word answer. It’s very much dependent on their age, the destination, whether you’re talking about facilities, treatments or both, as well as your personal decisions.
In the initial instance, there are definitely family friendly spa destinations, and what they include is as varied as the spas themselves. There are spa hotels where children can stay and use some facilities but not others. There are more specialised destinations where families are welcome in the hotel but the spa itself is adult-only (for those over the age of 16 or 18 only). Then there are destinations which are less specialised spas and are designed for the whole family to enjoy the facilities all the time.
Once you reach 18, the world is your oyster when it comes to spas and you can take your pick of spa experiences, pending any allergies or health problems that may impact your treatment choices. That said, the spa world is continuing to change and more and more options are available for teenagers in particular.
Some spas are beginning to offer dedicated spa packages that allow a parent and child to share spa experiences and treatments, while others have dedicated teen packages available, and some specialised destinations will even offer baby massage guidance that helps show parents how to gently massage their babies so they can relax together.
On balance however, spas themselves do not tend to permit children under the age of 16. There are the rare few that do have treatments for younger teenagers, but they are few and far between and are usually limited to basic treatments such as mini-manicures and pedicures. In all cases, children and teenagers must be accompanied by an adult.
One of the key reasons spas limit the access of children to facilities is for the benefit of the experience of other guests. We all know that children treat their downtime a little differently to most adults, and while the sound of their enjoyment as they splash in the pool and play games can be music to our ears, it’s not generally what most guests visit a spa for. There are a number of spa facilities that are family friendly and therefore offer leisure facilities that allow access for children, but many are for adults only.
As with all restrictions in spas, those on treatments are predominantly for health and wellbeing reasons – younger skin being more sensitive to products, for example. Most skincare products are far too strong and have not been approved for use on children, so if you are taking a child or young teenager to a spa, it is best to have a serious chat with therapists and do your research.
The bit that gets really tricky when it comes to children and spas, is more to do with the suitability of the experience. In our increasingly complicated world of body confidence and body questions, the age at which we introduce children to questions of beauty is a deeply personal one for parents that no one else can answer.
That said, much about the spa experience is not to do with beauty, but about learning about health and wellbeing in an enjoyable environment.
- Spa experiences can be a wonderful way to help children enjoy their wellbeing and to introduce them to healthy habits for life.
- The age at which you choose to bring that awareness to your children is a personal one.
- There are some wonderfully positive body and wellbeing associations to be taken from the spa experience, where it is all about looking after yourself in a kind way, so for many it may be an extremely valuable experience at the right age.
- There are also lots of little ways you can start to bring a sense of spa into their lives at home too. For example, certain essential oils, like mandarin, are a great way to calm toddler tantrums. You can find out more in our Spa at Home Guide for kids.
Equally, for teenagers learning to look after their changing skin, a therapist can be a helpful source of information. It may be that while we are in the midst of a bit of a body image crisis, a spa can provide a safe space to learn and understand.
What it boils down to is a combination of individual spa destination protocols, safety, consideration for others and personal choice.
Read here for our guide on how to do a spa day for kids.Browse Spa Days