Given that Australia is surrounded by water, it is not surprising many kids love to spend time swimming. Once a child gets a little older, they may show a natural progression in learning about how to scuba and dive. But, as a parent, you have concerns that this is a risky side of being in the water you would rather they avoid. Before you immediately say no, though, consider these points about the safety aspects of attending a diving course.
To start with, many of the major certifying diving courses do not allow a child to begin learning these skills until they are at least 10 years old. There are a number of medical and psychological reasons for this, which include:
- Continuing ear development in a child does not finalise until they are around 12. Diving involves being able to equalise the pressure in the ears while descending through the water, but very young children do not have ears developed enough for this to be done. The inability to equalise ear pressure can lead to ruptured eardrums.
- Learning to control fear when in the water is a big part of diving. When a child is not having fun at a soccer game, for example, they can stop and leave the field. This is not easily done when diving, so a child has to be at a mental age where they can rationally and calmly control their emotions.
Discuss the medical and psychological issues with your child. However, if you feel your child is not emotionally or physically ready,it is okay to say no until they are a little older.
If your child ticks the right age and mental ability boxes, how do you get past your own fears about their safety during a diving course? Firstly, remember your child is not going to be heading straight out to the open water and let loose with an air tank on day one of the course. Initial training includes the theory process which is the on-land study of diving and how to react in different scenarios. This is then combined with the practical learning of basic diving skills in a controlled environment, such as a swimming pool.
Heading out to an open water dive is only done once the instructor is confident of your child's abilities to be safe in the open water. These dives are done under their watchful eyes and will involve the buddy system of diving. That means two people are paired together who are tasked with watching out for each other's safety while in the water.
You can't baby your kids forever, and diving courses get your children out into the great marine world and away from their electronics. Any time spent out in nature is good for both the body and soul, so talk further to your local diving course instructor about any further fears you have so you can get peace of mind before you say yes to signing up.