A very frequent question that I am asked is:
- At what age can diving be started?
Before answering this question I would like to give you a small introduction:
In 2008 the European Commission has finalized the drafting of guidelines for the safety of the practice of water sports activities by children and young people.
These are swimming and diving activities.
The prevention of accidents intended across the board has provided for the drafting of these Safety Guidelines.. The latter are in fact responsible if they have not sufficiently informed on the risks of the activity, if they have not offered age-appropriate safety equipment, finally if they have not respected their own regulations.
At the same time, the spread of underwater activity, through training and immersion methods that are based on fun and relaxation. More and more children, boys and girls approach diving through the various diving schools and courses; while, from the same, dedicated equipment is studied and produced which allow a particularly easy approach to this activity.
Initially developed in France (Pouliquen reports on a scuba diving program with scuba for children from 8 ai 12 years with over 7.000 total dives already in 1982) and subsequently it has established itself all over the world.’
At what age can diving be started?
The most frequent question concerns the age at which to safely start diving.
In this regard we must note that the development speeds, growth and maturity of the subjects under i 18 years vary considerably from individual to individual, so it would be difficult for us to establish a fixed age in advance, which often does not reflect the real evolution in psychological terms, intellectuals and physics of the boy.
On the other hand, it is not necessary for the child to do a "standard adult type dive", but only "accompany" it in immersion, as happens on other occasions (in the mountains or in a sailing regatta); likewise it is not essential that the child has the ability to understand the theoretical bases of immersion in order to assimilate them, how they should not know the physiology of the high mountains or how to interpret a map to ski or follow their parents during a trek.
International didactics have drawn up standards for diving for children with self-contained breathing apparatus, in complete safety, to identify specific courses that provide the child with the elements to have fun in a different environmental situation, through a pleasant experience.
Atis Diving Club, diving academy, uses the training standards of the most important international didactics CMAS, NADD, IDEA Europe e HSA, which have different levels: the first from 8 years, with progressive activities from 9-10 e 11 years and with real diving certification from 12 years.
Specific equipment is foreseen, adapted to the child (Stick, dispenser, mask, move, weights and balancing vest).
Specific organizational structures
- the school must be welcoming with Audio-Video systems to make the child learn theoretical notions with play, which include safety on the surface and in dive sites as well as knowledge of equipment;
- qualification of operators;
- availability and quality of security information;
- methods of providing the service;
- procedures and equipment.
However, let's not forget that scuba diving is considered an educational sport, which develops a sense of responsibility and promotes psychomotor development.
Bring the child closer to the water, to the sea in particular, overcoming natural fears, it becomes important in the maturation between the child and the surrounding environment. An appropriate tactile and proprioceptive stimulation allows him to know the relationships between objects outside his own body. Motor activity therefore becomes a determining factor, which contributes to the development of the personality both on an emotional and intellectual level, more effective if carried out in a natural environment, full of pleasant physical and human stimuli.
The introduction to scuba diving with self-contained breathing apparatus (NOW) to children and young people it must be gradual, considering their emotional and analytical maturity as fundamental, essential to understand and manage the risks of underwater activities.
The transition to scuba diving must include previous snorkeling training, adequate lung maturity (and therefore an age of not less than eight years) and the ability to effectively manage compensation.
The physiopathological implications of scuba diving studied in adults, they must partly be adapted to the child: in their light, factors to be considered in the medical suitability of the child and changes in behavior capable of increasing diving safety are suggested.
The aforementioned articles were taken from the publication of the 3rd superior sports medicine workshop by Francesco Paolo Sieli.