Korea debates age cap of kids in bathhouses

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Apr 15, 2014 - 18:23
  • Updated : Apr 15, 2014 - 18:23
The South Korean government may lower the age cap for children allowed to enter sections of public bathhouses designated for the opposite sex.

The Korea Public Bath Industry Association proposed that the age cap be lowered from 5 years old to 5 “in Korean age” to account for the fact that children are developing at an increasingly faster rate.

Korean age adds one year to the age that a person will be turning that year. For example, a child born in 2010 would turn 5 years old on Jan. 1, 2014, regardless of whether his birthday has passed.

The Public Sanitation Administration Law currently states that children over 5 cannot enter sections for the opposite gender, and imposes a fine of up to 3 million won ($2,900) on bathhouses that violate the law.

If approved, the law will be changed for the first time since 2003, when the age limit was lowered from 7.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare considers changing the age to 4 instead of 5 years old, Korean age, as proposed, but takes its time debating the age cap to reach a consensus satisfying different types of families, including single-parent families.

By Suh Ye-seul (