KIDS AND DIVING
     
  ۼ : Ralf  
  ۼ : 2006/06/26 13:42  
  ȸ : 3882  
     
  We sometimes receive inquiries from families who want to go diving with their children. Some of those kids are already certified, others would like to get certified through BIG BLUE 33.

After having dived with kids between 12 and 15 a couple of times and having done a course for a boy who was 13 some years ago I came to the conclusion not to accept people under the age of 16 for scuba diving or training. I know that most training agencies including NAUI do accept kids at age 12 for certification but personally I think it is too early. From my own experience of divng with kids here in Jeju I can say that
- most Kids have a hard time carrying the heavy scuba equipment like tanks, belts etc.
- Kids get cold much faster than grown ups
- Kids have problems whenever the conditions are a bit less than ideal which is sometimes the case in Jeju

On top of that there are some medical considerations on scuba diving with children that should be taken into consideration carefully. Please read the article below which was published by 'sources' the NAUI magazin in 1991. While it has been 15 years since it was published, no new data has developed to alter the opinions expressed in the article.

Safe diving
Ralf


MEDICAL ANSWERS, By R. Kelly Hill, Jr., M.D., F.A.C.M., NAUI #9243

"Little kids shouldn't dive. There, I've typed it so that it is very clear. Just like pregnancy, being a human-in-progress is a contraindication to diving. There are two rational reasons based upon diving physiology, and one irrational reason for my position on [youngsters] diving.

Rational Reason #1: The DCS risk for juveniles is unknown, and there are no decompression tables or algorithms developed specifically for them. When experts in diving medicine get together to look at incidence rates, causal factors and risk analysis, there is little consensus - and that is for adults not our children. The historical data collected on the few children who have dived is a very inadequate sample to determine if children have more or less risk than adults. Animal experiments have not been particularly helpful in determining the relative incidence of DCS in this group when compared to adults. Remember that the basic concept behind the development of decompression tables is whether or not the test group got bent using [a particular] schedule. Those groups tend to be relatively small [in number], until recently were exclusively male, and no one in his right mind would include children in a test group...

Rational Reason #2: Juveniles have a unique tissue risk for decompression sickness. Though all of a juvenile's tissues are in transition, one tissue type in particular is at potential risk for DCS: bone. As the skeleton grows , it does so by lengthening bones at their ends, through the growth plates. Just like with other tissues, if something, such as a bubble, damages this tissue or its blood supply, the tissue fails. The growth plate has its own set of on and off-gassing parameters, and they are ones that were not necessarily included in the testing of decompression schedules. If a growth plate dies, that bone does not grow from that end and the bone is permanently distorted. If the distortion is significant, the result may be surgery, disability or both... the risk is real and the incidence unknown.

Irrational Reason #1: Risk/Benefit.
Since the data is not clear, why take a risk? Diving is a wonderful experience, but there are lots of wonderful experiences open to kids, like growing up with two legs the same length. The benefits of children diving are not commensurate with the risk.
 
     
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