Other considerations about kids and scuba diving...
Dive Momma - Instructor/Financial Analyst
December 6, 2007 at 12:35:01
While I understand that the intelligence levels of kids are not alike and some do very well with the diving physics and understand the dangers (while others do not), there is another issue I'd like to address. That is the medical effects of pressure on kids who are still growing.
DAN has addressed the possibility of damage to bone plates which are not fully developed. They are researching the effects but as you can imagine, it is difficult to discover any lasting effects due to the short period of time the research has been ongoing. The results of that research has not been fully published to my knowledge although I have not checked the DAN website recently either.
Instructors have the option of teaching those young ones or not based on their observation of the child's ability to grasp the concepts of diving physics and their capability of diving within the rules not to mention diving with an adult certified diver. We can choose to teach or turn them away. I would not and do not condone scaring kids to death to make a point in their training. That serves no purpose other than to instill fear for the remainder of their diving lives. Using fear as a tool to teach in any discipline is formidable.
An instructor's role is to present the facts and not opinions and be certain any student, whether young or old fully understands the concepts of diving, the hazards, and the conservation of our oceans by making it interesting, fun, and safe. At least that is my goal and I'd certainly like to believe that most Instructors think like I do. Our reward for teaching is to see a student succeed and go on to lead safe diving lives and infect others with the scuba bug of enthusiasm!