Children and Diving

I recently wrote an “Ask an Expert” column for the July issue of Scuba Diving magazine, available at newstands now. You can also read it online here: Should Kids Under 12 Dive?

I take the stance that “no”, they should not be allowed to dive. Share your thoughts, but please, read the article before you start flaming me. :)

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25 Responses to “Children and Diving”

  1. Louisette Says:

    Interesting articles on diving in blog, greeting from belgium

  2. Kathe Says:

    Some surface intervals seem interminable.

  3. Duane Says:

    I think one important point is missed. That is the effects of elevated PO2 on a child’s CNS. No one knows what the effects of elevated PO2 can do to a child’s CNS when they are in a state of development. For this fact alone, no child under the age of 16 should be allowed to dive. I refuse to teach children, regardless how mature they may be. There is still plenty of fun stuff to see snorkeling.

  4. Bruce Says:

    My 7 year old grandson has been diving in the 6 ft section of the swimming pool for the last year. He also can do his 20 skills. But the pool is as far as he can go. Diving here is cold water diving . A drysuit is a must. The stress of cold water and visability is too much for a little guy. Not to mention we aren’t buying custom dry suits for a grown boy. He is chomping at the bit to go diving with us. He will have to wait till he is 12. And then warm water only. I’m going to disagree with Duane though as far as waiting till 16. I started diving when I was 10 and I’m almost 60. I know other divers who started very early. A 12 year old educated mature diver to 40 ft I believe is a good call.

  5. Bruce Says:

    growing :0

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  7. Erik Says:

    I personally started diving when I was 12 years old. That was over 23 years ago. I also don’t agree with the idea that no child should dive before they are 16. While I will agree that a child has no business being below 30-40′ deep, I am a firm believer that scuba diving is a very good way of teaching children about conservation so that they don’t repeat the mistakes of our generations.

  8. Lucas Divestore Says:

    Interesting question, I started diving when I was 11 years old

  9. Richard Says:


    I absolutely appreciate your article on not permitted children under 12 from diving. As a lawyer, it is often necessary for advocates to take up positions and provide the best argument, regardless of your personal position or if you even have one. So, even if you feel that under 12s should not be permitted to dive, I wanted to take that moment to remind everyone that advocacy equals knowledge dissemination, regardless of dissent. Having said that, I dive with my 11 year old often. He is not merely PADI jr. OW certified, but adventure diver certified. He anxiously awaits being able to become jr. advanced when reaching 12 years old. He has even asked for it as a birthday present in lieu of myriad other typical and exciting presents that 12 year olds receive! He and I have dived Key West, Grand Cayman and Catalina’s kelp forests. I cannot and will not quash his fervor for a sport that promotes exercise, exploration, planning, critical thinking, and the application of science and mathematics. However, I would be lying if I didn’t point out that I am concerned about the remotely possible physiological effects that diving could have on a developing young person. Here, I must be guided by our best science and my decision to infrequently dive with him (we had to get refresher courses recently since our previous dive was in May, 2011). I seriously hope that will be enough prophylactic and cautionary behavior to safeguard my son’s physical development.

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  23. Shearwater Research Inc. Says:

    I read the article all pointers are definitely true the kids should be interested enough to dive, Allow the kids to be prepare one self explain to him briefly and as much as possible the easiest way for the kid to understand all the instruction and precaution in diving.

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