Is Diving Too Dangerous for Kids?

As the sport of scuba diving grows, more and more water-loving parents are taking their children scuba classes. Almost all international scuba associations have lowered the age for junior certification for children. But is scuba training really safe for child this young? If you have ever wanted to get your child involved in this exciting sport but were uncertain of the risks, then this article can help.

What is the current age limit?

At the end of the last century, The World Recreational Scuba Training Council dropped the age limit for its junior certification from 12 to 10 years old. Junior certification requires supervision by a certified adult diver. Most of the major dive associations adopted these rules (PADI - Professional Association of Diving Instructors, SDI - Scuba Diving International, and SSI - Scuba Schools International) While some dive schools cheered this new rule as a way to introduce the next generation to this exciting sports, other instructors have refused to teach young children due to safety and medical concerns.

But is scuba diving safe for younger kids?

Yes and no. The number of scuba related deaths or injuries of children are much less than car fatalities in most countries. But scuba diving is an extreme sport by definition and most parents should be aware of the risk factors that can increase the danger of this normally fun and enjoyable sport for young children.

Studies have shown that one of the leading causes of death or injury in scuba diving is panic. Over half of all divers (no matter what their age) have experienced at least one panic driven episode terror while submerged.

Many an adult diver has gotten into trouble because they have panicked and had fear distort their good judgement and short-circuited their training. Being able to quickly recover from panic by using discipline and control is a necessity while diving. A disciplined diver is a safer diver. Another problem for children is maturity. Kids, especially very young ones have problems in controlling their impulses and are naturally more thoughtless and reckless than mature adults. All the training in the world can’t help a diver if they are unable to process information and make sound decisions while diving.

Prepping Young Kids for Scuba Diving

Snorkelling is one of the best ways to get a young kid ready and excited about diving without all the hassle of learning complex physics, suiting up with heavy scuba gear or coping with decompression.

While snorkelling, kids can be taught how to dive effectively while getting used to being submerged, how to regulate their breathing, how to don their mask and fins. And this is also a great opportunity for them to work on their finning techniques and basic underwater safety skills.
And as the child grows in size and maturity, it will be a natural graduation from snorkelling to scuba.