Preschool Pampering: How Salons and Spas Manage Risks Associated with Kids

The latest target audience for beauty and wellness services is really growing into the role: kids.

The market for children’s salon and spa services is growing. At least 25 percent of salons offer this service, which represents a 15 percent increase between 2011 and 2015, says the New York Times. Not only is the clientele at “adult” salons skewing younger, but salons and spas designed for kids are catering to the burgeoning beauty and wellness interests of the under-18 set (as we’ve discussed in the past).

Offering services for children is a fun and potentially lucrative way for salons and spas to grow, expand and reach new clients, as this Dayspa article highlights. Yet, as you can imagine, it isn’t all fun and games. In fact, the mere presence of children in these playgrounds of pampering can raise questions and concerns about safety and the client experience.

Salon and spa owners need to consider safety risks to young visitors while thinking about how their liability exposure may change by catering to children. Here are some ideas for limiting those risks.

Securing a risky environment

Some of the risks for young children are a bit obvious: the salon and spa setting can expose them to sharp objects and caustic chemicals. A study of national emergency department data showed that almost 65,000 children had cosmetic-related injuries from 2002 to 2016, with 86 percent of these being poisonings.

To avoid such serious injuries, salons and spas should make sure their cosmetic products are well out of reach of small hands. Whatever products are left within reach should be non-toxic.

Additionally, it is crucial that businesses serving children make sure their facilities are well-maintained. If a child falls on a wet and slippery floor is wet and is injured, the salon can be held accountable in a premises liability claim.

Know who you are

Not every salon needs to market services to children, and not every spa needs to cater to adults at the exclusion of their kids. However, every salon and spa should have clear policies in place to guide parents and staff about how children fit into the environment.

In the case of salons and spas that serve primarily adults, some owners institute “no children” policies to avoid this issue entirely, as the Spa Industry Association discusses. However, this limits revenue potential (and may insult clients who are parents).

Instead, other managers institute very specific — and more reasonable, enforceable — policies that allow children to be present only while they’re receiving pampering of their own. This way, they remain under employee supervision when apart from their parents.

Most important is simply having a written policy regarding children. In addition to detailing the policy, a written document should state the salon cannot be held liable for unsupervised children. Unless the salon offers separate child care services (which may change your insurance coverage), it is the parents’ responsibility to watch their children. If children injure themselves due to salon negligence, such as leaving out dangerous products or having slippery floors, that liability can fall on the salon.

As the industry continues to expand services to children, it also increases the potential for dangerous situations and claims. This makes the need for a detailed policy on children and appropriate risk management even more important.

Kathy Lopez, Account Manager for SASSI, the Salon and Spa Specialty Insurance program at Brownyard Group. She can be reached at klopez@brownyard.com.