Scuba, kids, parental responsibility and certification agencies...
John B - Instructor/Dive center staff
January 8, 2008 at 11:10:12
First in response to Dr. Carol W, it is not correct that the article implies that "the United States is allowing children down to age 10 to be certified only to 'grow the scuba industry'". The article clearly states that "the unregulated U.S. dive industry rolled out scuba diving courses for kids to 'grow the scuba diving industry'". Again, that's the "U.S. dive industry", not the United States. The United States is not involved in growing the scuba industry.
Parental responsibility is an important factor in any decision that could affect the health of a child. Allowing a child to scuba dive necessarily subjects the child to increased probability of permanently debilitating injuries or death from decompression sickness, lung embolisms and drowning. And as Michael O correctly pointed out, we do not yet know how scuba diving affects the developing bodies of young children. So how can any parent say a particular child is "ready to dive"?
But the real issue here is not whether parents should allow their children to scuba dive. That's a judgement call they can make regardless of whether certification agencies sell C-cards to kids. It is perfectly legal to dive without a C-card and you can learn to dive safely, perhaps more safely, without paying a dive shop for a quickie, 2-day certification course. As I stated previously, the real issue is whether certification agencies should be attempting to grow the market for their products by targeting children.