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My wife, my children, and I arrived yesterday for a 2 week stay at a "senior" style 55+ Florida RV park with a hot tub. We are very well informed of the risks associated with children enjoying hot tubs and take the necessary steps to ensure the children are always supervised and safe when using the hot tub.

Today my wife was enjoying the hot tub with the children when a park employee informed her that it is illegal in Florida for children under the age of 18 to use a hot tub and that the kids must immediately exit.

I have researched and can find no such law, and in fact have found evidence that it may even be illegal to post signs enforcing such a rule (no such signs are posted here). I believe that the elderly park employee was either misinformed herself or may possibly have been guessing what the actual law is as a way for her to address her personal discomfort with seeing children use a hot tub.

As a parent it has been a regular occurrence for me to encounter individuals that believe that hot tubs on their own are inherently injurious to children without understanding that the risks of heat stroke and drowning are easily countered with simple safe practices, primarily involving direct adult supervision.

Since we will be here for 2 weeks and my children experience great joy from using hot tubs, I would like to persuade the park staff to not interfere with our parenting decision in this matter, but only if this effort has a decent probability of success and a very low likelihood of damaging our relationship with the park staff.

Some things I have going against me:

  • Being in my 30's I am much younger than the majority of staff and fellow residents in this "retirement" style RV community
  • Children are an uncommon sight in this community
  • Since I am here only a short time (2 weeks) the staff has little incentive to change their views to accommodate my family
  • The staff will likely be approached by other residents who express concerns about our children's safety and the staff may feel obligated to defend our parenting choices to other residents

Is it likely I could persuade the staff to not interrupt my family's enjoyment of the hot tub? If so, what might be a kind, tactful, and respectful way of discussing this with the staff?

  • Most business have a right to refuse service. Rules do not have to be posted. – paparazzo Feb 7 '18 at 21:24
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    Could it be that she's worried about your kids making too much noise when playing in the tub or even... urinating in it - and she wraps it up as a safety concern (when that's not really the core of the matter)? – AllTheKingsHorses Feb 7 '18 at 21:38
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    How old are the children? – user1760 Feb 8 '18 at 2:44
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My family did a lot of RV travel when I was growing up. In general it was a very positive experience! Most of the people we met were very personable and friendly. Since you're neighbors with these people for two weeks, it's best to stay on their good side.

So, I'd approach it like you're asking for a favor, rather than a customer service complaint. Use the friendly atmosphere to your advantage, and keep it informal in tone.

Hi staff, the other day the kids were asked to leave the hot tub. Little Johnny was really looking forward to using it on our visit here, and I was wondering if there's some way he could be in it, even just for a little bit? Our kids have been in hot tubs before, and we're always very careful to supervise them.

If you have specific practices you follow, like "kids can only stay in ten minutes at a time", you could mention that as well to in case they're worried about the quality of your supervision.

If they say yes - great!

If they say "No" or even "No, it's the law" - sorry, they're not budging. Thank them for considering it anyways, and continue to enjoy the other facilities.

I would not press the issue unless it is really going to ruin your experience there. It's possible the park sees it as a liability issue and does have a policy. In that case, escalating won't gain you anything, and will only cause tension. It's also possible they had trouble with kids in the past and just don't want them around, in which case they'll probably get annoyed that you think your kids should get special treatment.

Given that there's no explicit signage or written rules, I don't think there's any harm in asking, as long as you remain friendly and respectful through the interaction.

FWIW, my parents treated situations like that as teaching moments for how to gracefully respond to disappointment ;)

  • Haha, one of my kids is literally named Jonathan. Great advice too, thank you. – Cory Klein Feb 7 '18 at 21:03
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You can try and reason with the person in question, but I think you'll find it quite difficult to not come across as ... difficult.

This is because these people are trying to paint their personal preferences as state law, and they're not likely to listen to you very open mindedly.

I would essentially steer the conversation down the following path, adjusting to compensate for the answers given:

Oh? I certainly didn't mean to break any laws. However, I'm not aware of any such laws being on the books in this state. I've vacationed in Florida many times, and never before run into a situation like this. Did you mean to say that there's a facility rule about this? In which case, where is it posted?

If things escalate you can eventually ask to speak to the manager.

At the end of the day you'll have to decide whether it's more important that your family gets to enjoy the facilities you presumably paid for, or whether you're more interested in getting along with folks you'll never see again after two weeks.

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    Getting along with staff at RV parks is crucial to having a positive experience, they own the land you're living on and the utilities you're using and as a short-term resident you don't have the same rights as in a renter/landlord relationship. So unfortunately maintaining a positive personal relationship with the staff is not optional. Given all that, I like and appreciate your input and suggestions, thank you. – Cory Klein Feb 7 '18 at 18:33
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    @coryklein - You may wish to avoid situations in which you lack any power of negotiation in the future. Hopefully they care about, you potentially asking for a refund, giving them a bad review, or other such consequences of treating you poorly. If not, then you're really at their mercy, and there's no "nice" way of bringing their authority into question. – AndreiROM Feb 7 '18 at 18:40
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    For us the trade-offs are worth it - we're touring the U.S. in an RV and this in one facet of the travel that has no alternatives that work for our family. The RV parks can be challenging at times, but the vast majority of experiences are positive and staying at these parks enables us to travel in ways that previously would not have been possible. Fortunately, any negative experience is always tempered by our propensity to stay in one place for no more than a week or two. – Cory Klein Feb 7 '18 at 19:05
  • @coryklein - that sounds like a pretty epic childhood experience. Hope it works out for you guys. – AndreiROM Feb 7 '18 at 19:13
  • Thanks! It has been epic, but also challenging in many ways, and we have all grown a lot. Thank you for your help on making it even better. :) – Cory Klein Feb 7 '18 at 19:14

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