Kids in hot tubs — from diapered infants to rambunctious teens — are a hot-button topic. Our recent Lido Deck posting on the subject made our readers simmer, with more than 300 comments in the Lido Deck and dozens more on our Facebook page. Though the rhetoric ran both pro and con, it heavily tilted toward the latter. We waded into the hot, bubbling mess to see what was on your minds, and we learned a few things in the process.
The hot water isn’t particularly healthy for kids, especially very young ones. As Julia Rice noted on Facebook: “Kids should not be allowed in the hot tubs!!! It is not healthy because they get dehydrated within 20 minutes time.” Or, as Susan Williams Wojciechowski pointed out: “Bodily waste aside, it’s like making baby soup. Babies/little kids cannot regulate their body temps like adults can.” (It’s true, according to LiveStrong.com: “Extremely hot water in a hot tub can lead to heatstroke among children, which may cause dizziness, confusion, seizures and loss of consciousness.”)
But then again, many hot tubs onboard aren’t particularly hot, as Danielle Savarese Moore said on Facebook: “On the Valor, they weren’t even hot, barely lukewarm.” OBXRon agreed, posting on the Lido Deck that “[I] have not found one hot tub in our 14 cruises that was ‘hot.’ These things are more like lukewarm incubators for germs that get thrown up into the air in an aerosol form that people breath or sit and stew in tepid liquid that is rinsing off all of the others in the mix…bubbling cesspools.”
Kids may be exposed to other stuff that they shouldn’t be. As Waldorf Wally wrote on Facebook: “What worries me more is the adults who are drinking in the hot tubs and don’t get out for ages. They must be sitting in bubbling urine!” Actually, we heard this from a lot of readers.
Beyond the heat, the chemicals, the germs and whatever else is floating around, drowning is also a hazard. So, if you insist on allowing your little ones in, at least make sure you check to see if the drain cover is the safer kind (convex) to keep little ones from becoming entrapped, and make certain the shut-off valve is in plain sight.
There are often rules against kids in hot tubs — and they’re frequently unenforced. “Parents should set a good example for their children and respect the rules,” said Anne on the Lido Deck. Problem is, according to many cruisers in the know, rules are broken. “There is a trend among some parents,” noted Amy B., “to think vacation means vacation from parenting and thus letting their kids do whatever they want. Parenting includes enforcing rules and telling your kids ‘no’ occasionally.”
Still, if people don’t follow the rules, the ship’s staff will set things to right. Right? “No rules are enforced on cruise ships by the staff!” Risa Roop Sidani said on Facebook. Or, as Rosemary Crupi Zuba wrote: “First, there should be a notice posted ‘no children under 16.’ If parents still let their kids in, the parents need to be told. Stop trying to be the ‘nice guy’ and do your job.”
Some steamed cruisers aren’t afraid to take matters into their own hands. If parents and the crew fail to keep kids out of the hot tubs, a few readers don’t mind stepping up to the plate. Michelle said on the Lido Deck: “A rule is a rule. Enforce them all, or none. Personally, the last thing a kid, or their neglectful non-parenting parents want is to be in an adult-only pool when I plan to use it. I guarantee. I’m an obnoxious annoying grandmother type that gives no quarter to unruly behavior from children…”
Rich Pierpaoli’s version of the stink eye works every time. “I am a big-bellied, hairy 58-year-old guy. I always use the hot tubs with friends…When we want to get into a hot tub and it happens to be filled with kids, I get in the tub and just stare at them. It is amazing how quickly I am enjoying the hot tub with my friends. The kids actually jump out of the thing like Asian carp out of Lake Michigan.”
Hey, every now and then there’s a decent reason kids are in the hot tubs. Sometimes there aren’t enough wading pools, as Danielle Savarese Moore pointed out on Facebook. “If certain lines would have more kiddie pools, shallow pools, etc. there would not be kids in the hot tub. On Carnival Valor there is no such area and the pools are very deep. The only way kids could stand was in the hot tubs.”
Gina Rodriguez Buchardt agreed: “…there is no kiddie pool for kids and the one pool available is very deep and crowded. The splash areas for kids are cool but again, no pool and my child doesn’t like the slides.”
Read other Sea-Mail columns on duty-free-shopping ripoffs, saving tables at the buffet, the death of cruise traditions and bad balcony behavior.
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