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son wants to scuba for his 8th birthday

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by Limey, Mar 25, 2020.

  1. BrackaFish

    BrackaFish Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Port Orange Fl
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    SSI has a Scuba Ranger program that is limited to pool and depending on the instructors can be a lot of fun. My oldest boy did that and enjoyed it tremendously. With my youngest, we waited until he was almost 12. As @caydiver, @tursiops and others have pointed out there is not a great deal of information about the effects of increased pressure on tissue, growth plates etc on young kids. Mental maturity is also a big factor as I have dove with some fifty year olds that I questioned were old enough to dive. Good luck.
     
    boat sju likes this.
  2. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
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    Agree that some people of any age are questionable prospects when it comes to diving (or anything....). But I figure there is a difference between a not fully developed child's brain (especially regarding concrete ideas vs. abstract ones) and an adult who is....well, I'll stop there.
     
    BrackaFish likes this.
  3. Sue J

    Sue J Angel Fish

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    My son did the SSI Scuba Rangers program when he was 8. One of the good things about the program is that it introduces kids to the science and practice of diving slowly and deliberately in a controlled situation. The kids all had plenty of time to thoroughly learn their equipment and to get comfortable in the water. The programs are conducted in a pool at a shallow depth. An instructor could literally reach in and pull out a kid in trouble. These programs (SSI's Scuba Rangers and PADI's Seal Team) hammer in basic safety rules like "Never hold your breath" and "Know your limits." The full SR program is 6 weeks, so it's nothing like a quickie weekend certification. When he went through OW certification at 10 he was well prepared.

    I recently framed my now 25 year old son's Scuba Rangers certificate, so he could put it up in the dive shop he now owns in Florida!
     
  4. KathyV

    KathyV Orca

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Midwestern US
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    I don't have children so I cannot offer an opinion other than to say that I have 5 great-nephews that are all 7 years and younger and I wouldn't recommend diving to their parents until they older. But I would recommend helping them to become familiar with water sports and comfortable in the sea from a very early age. I grew up in the Midwest and never learned to swim until I took an Adult Learn to Swim Class after I got married. I missed a lot and wish I had learned earlier.

    But parents are the best judges of their child's interest and maturity and every family is different.
    cousteau.jpg
     
    BrackaFish likes this.
  5. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    12,551
    2,870
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    Great idea. Even here, right on the Atlantic, I observed OW scuba students who appeared to have never been in the deep end of a motel pool. There are so many things you can do in water as a very young kid that prepares you for something like scuba. For me, there was no big revelation about taking my first breaths underwater--just neat that I didn't have to surface to breathe.
     
    KathyV likes this.
  6. CT-Rich

    CT-Rich Solo Diver

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    I had my kids snorkeling at 8. The that ultimately was certified did it at 16. TBH, she grew up around me the water and had the impression she is more of an old salt than she really was. We had a moment or two when she was put in her place. The ocean will be more than happy to remind you of your short comings. Give him something to work for. And the extra time will make him appreciate it more.
     
  7. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
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    JYC taught his oldest grandson Fabien to dive at the age of 4. There are issues with children diving that were not known back then. I had a PM conversation with @LandonL on the risks of children diving at too young of an age. Hopefully I got our conversation correct. Children are more prone to gas being trapped due to their smaller airways (smaller bronchioles, alveolar sacs). Also, their lungs do not stretch as much as those of adults.

    My motivation for this conversation is to figure out when my daughter will be medically suited to dive. I'll probably start her out in the bathtub, with a cut down mouthpiece like @Sam Miller III did with his son. She can snorkel as soon as she's able to swim. I'll let her breath off a regulator at the surface as well, but she will have to wear a life preserver to ensure that she floats like a cork in case she gets her own ideas like her dad would have at a young age and her old man isn't fast enough to grab her.

    Parents are usually good judges of maturity, as they see their kids all the time and know them best. I say usually, because some parents think their kids can do no wrong.
     
  8. DBPacific

    DBPacific Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Oregon, USA
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    I was called a mature kid and I would not have trusted me to dive before I did (at about 18-19). Kids are so focused on pleasing others and/or seeming brave in front of people they look up to. I don't have kids so I can't give advice to OP but I would say there are a ton of things aside from certification that the kid can do. He can practice swimming skills, snorkeling, learn the theory of diving and diving medicine, learn parts of diving kit and their uses/care, and species ID. Parents know their kids best though.
     
    TMHeimer likes this.
  9. Sue J

    Sue J Angel Fish

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    One thing I did with my son (in post #33) for the first few years he dove was to insist on triple buddying. He couldn’t go out unless it was with both an instructor and a parent or other adult who was solely focused on him. We didn’t trust a regular buddy or even a DM/instructor to have his best interests at heart and in an emergency we didn’t want him to have to carry the burden if something were to go wrong even if he did everything right.

    I did find that at the age of 10 or 12 that he was very rule bound, which I considered a good thing, in that it made it less likely that someone would convince him to go beyond an established depth or break an agreed-upon rule, but until he had a good 50-100 dives I didn’t fully trust that he had the experience and judgement to both handle himself and be a safe and competent buddy.

    He also did a lot of specialties. That meant that he was working with someone whose job it was to help him become a better diver. By 12 he had better trim and buoyancy control than the vast majority of resort divers I’ve met. He’d dove in an array of conditions as well, something I thought was important in that each new experience provided an opportunity to deal with the unexpected.

    I think of it like learning to drive. You wouldn’t let your 16 year old take a weekend driver’s ed class then send them out to drive carpool, right? The same guidelines to teaching your kid to drive apply to kids and diving-learn a little at a time, make sure they thoroughly understand the rules, preview possible problems, increase the distractions over time, talk about any issues when your session is done, insist on safety, etc.
     
    BrackaFish likes this.
  10. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    12,551
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    Sue J, This is probably the most comprehensive (and conscientious) procedure I've seen regarding young kids. Of course I'm sure it is the exception that someone will make sure their child dives with both an instructor and another adult. Probably many are not in a situation where that can happen. But, you have made things as safe as humanly possible.
    Re the driving thing-- Of course I agree. But, licenses aren't given out after a weekend class (I don't think). And you have that "graduated" (or whatever) system most places where at first you can't drive at night, etc.
    We send new divers (adults, teens, and kids with an adult) out on their own after a weekend in the pool and a review in OW.
    We say it's fine to buddy with someone from the class--my 2006 manual ENCOURAGES that. These things pale in comparison to the routine you've set up for your son.
    I'd still wait 'til he's 15, but that's just me.
     

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