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#1 Timmoranuk

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 05:44 AM

Copied from Alex's favourite photo of 2008 thread:

Not wishing to take this way off topic (sorry Alex) its true that PADI JOW is formally limited to 12 metres and JAOW to 21 metres though I confess that both CJ and I have applied some flexibility to these parameters. At the outset, when CJ was just seven years old, I acquaited myself with all the physiological data I could muster from numerous hyperbaric chambers, DAN, etc. regarding young persons, diving and breathing compressed gas at depth. In essence there is no imperical evidence to support PADI's depth restrictions which are driven by issues of liability more than anything else. Lung development and bone plate development issues are largely hypothesis and conjecture. The telling statement came from the then president of DAN Europe "I know many divers who commenced their recreational diving as early as four years old and today they are safe and healthy adult divers". CJ has been using nitrox (as 21%) since he first breathed compressed gas and this year at the age of 11 he was qualified by PSAI to use up to 40% back gas. In ideal diving conditions CJ is very comfortable at 25-30 metres and displays impeccable gas management regimes and buoyancy skills. On second and third dives of the day we may often bust a little deco too which he manages like a pro using a Stinger and either swimming off his obligation or hanging under his DSMB. What does he want for Easter? Manifolded twin 7's and a nice 16kg lift wing. I expect it won't be too long before he's hanging a pair of 3's, lean left and rich right...

If there's any more corresspondance on this, I'm sure Alex would appreciate it being conducted elsewhere. I've opened up a new thread http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=28111

Edited by Timmoranuk, 05 January 2009 - 05:47 AM.

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#2 loftus

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 07:28 AM

I think we all have to make our own decisions with regard to our children diving, and if you're 100% comfortable with expanding their envelope beyond what is recommended or 'approved' I think that's OK, as long as it's accompanied by taking 100% responsibility should anything go wrong. I agree the data is pretty sparse on actual safety at depth etc. I'm a 'by the book' type of person, particularly when it comes to things like this with my kids.
I think rules like these are made to minimize risks due to task loading as well, obviously your guy has more dives under his belt than many adults.
Finally, I think there's the issue, particularly in the US, of legal issues and liability, and dive operators in Florida are pretty strict about applying the rules to junior divers.
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#3 Giles

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 07:48 AM

As an instructor the concern i have is nothing to do with their safety or effects of depth or compressed air.

I just don't want a 10 year old as my buddy when something goes wrong I have absolutely no reliable back up to save me. Lets face it young kids just aren't as responsible or capable of dealing with emergency situations as teens or adult.
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#4 Scubamoose

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 09:42 AM

As an instructor the concern i have is nothing to do with their safety or effects of depth or compressed air.

I just don't want a 10 year old as my buddy when something goes wrong I have absolutely no reliable back up to save me. Lets face it young kids just aren't as responsible or capable of dealing with emergency situations as teens or adult.


Have to agree with Giles!
I have noticed that kids usually learn waterskill's faster than many adults and they evolve to great divers with unbelievable speed. But just as You sayed, theyr ability to deal with emergencyes might not be as good as theyr parents and problem solving might not be that adequate when an emergency arises.
For second, is a ten year old child old enough to think through the hazard's of "almost" deco diving etc. on his own and fully understand what is he getting into?

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#5 scorpio_fish

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 10:42 AM

As an instructor the concern i have is nothing to do with their safety or effects of depth or compressed air.


I used to think the same thing, with a list of similar issues. I've changed my mind.

Lung development and bone plate development issues are largely hypothesis and conjecture.


Hypotheses based on science.

"I know many divers who commenced their recreational diving as early as four years old and today they are safe and healthy adult divers"


That's not science. Some people smoke cigarettes and live to be 93.

....PADI's depth restrictions which are driven by issues of liability more than anything else.


If you a driving a vehicle with other people's children as passengers, do you make them wear a seatbelt? Is it more out of issues of liability or for safety reasons?



There is no definitive science, but children's bodies react differently to physical intrusions. Ask any physician who deals with pediatric treatments.

Here's my anecdote. An 11-year old gets certified at the shop where I taught. I participated in the class, but was not the certifying instructor. The family goes to Cozumel. The 11-year old does two dives on Saturday. After the first dive on Sunday reports numbness and tingling. None of the dives exceeded 13 meters, nor was there any rapid ascent. No dive lasted longer than 30 minutes. The boy needed a complete Table 6 treatment. If I recall correctly, symptoms resolved after 3-4 days.

I remember when PADI dropped the age form 12 to 10. I was concerned at the time. I was able to avoid certifying 10 and 11 years old during this whole time period. After eight years, I felt like it was time to be more open to the concept. Then this event happened.

I've also had confrontations with parents who ignore all safety guidelines and rules with regard to their children diving.

Here's a good article on the subject:

Children and Diving
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#6 jeremypayne

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 11:11 AM

My son is 6 and I think about this all the time. I don't know where I stand ... need to think on it ...
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#7 Timmoranuk

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 11:59 AM

Hey Giles, a well made point. For me however, I am a habitual solo diver and, FWIW, SDI solo certified. When I'm not diving, I voluntarily leave serviciable aircraft at altitude. There ain't no buddies there... As a TDI certified equipment technician I probably have a sublime attitude to equipment performance and reliabilty too, perchance based on more than a little knowledge and experience.

Scorpio, I've bent myself doing everthing absolutely right including proper hydration. Anyone of us get get a hit, anytime...

And Scubamoose, I agree absolutely with you. If a ten year old or, in fact, a diver of any age is unable "think through the hazard's of "almost" deco diving" they shouldn't, period...

IMHO, and I really appreciate this discussion, a parent has to accept 100% reponsibility and ensure that their child's diving experience, comprehension and skills more than exceed the demands of any dive undertaken. That has to be a judgement call based on what only the parent can know.

Thanks chaps for your valued comment.
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#8 TheRealDrew

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 12:21 PM

I am one who thinks that the dropping of age limits for diving is a bit too much, much for the same reasons above - namely physically and emotionally I think it is too young. (And this is not meant to criticize those who choose otherwise, people can make their own choices. Children vary in abilities and so do the people diving with them - so CJ and his Dad are probably two who can do this properly but I am not sure if that is the exception rather than the rule.)

As to the physical aspects of diving on development of children, I tend to lean towards being conservative. So many things are general and unsure in diving and the article that Scorpio Fish pointed out is a good one in terms of the issues and ethics of why we may never know the answers. PFO is one topic that is always intriguing when discussing the situation (many people do have PFO's but not everyone gets DCI) Not sure what signs were fully involved with Scorpio Fish's anecdote, but faster onset of neurological symptoms is something that indicates a PFO (skin bends also more common it seems.)

And of course again there is the issue of who is minding the children - I have been on boats where there is an 11 year old and the parent who was there diving with them was - let's say - not up to snuff skill wise to take care of themselves let alone their child.

EDIT: Whoops started typing this before last post posted :dancing:

Edited by TheRealDrew, 06 January 2009 - 01:55 AM.


#9 scorpio_fish

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 03:11 PM

Scorpio, I've bent myself doing everthing absolutely right including proper hydration. Anyone of us get get a hit, anytime...



At 12 meters for 25 minutes? This is why I believe that differences really do exist between adults and children. I also believe that diving beyond the limits set greatly increases the risk of osteonecrosis.

...a parent has to accept 100% reponsibility and ensure that their child's diving experience, comprehension and skills more than exceed the demands of any dive undertaken. That has to be a judgement call based on what only the parent can know.


I would like to believe that in the abstract. Reality has forced me to physically prevent a loving father from having his uncertified 8 year old daughter enter the water in full scuba gear.


In ideal diving conditions CJ is very comfortable at 25-30 metres....... On second and third dives of the day we may often bust a little deco too


I am adamantly opposed to this type of diving for a ten year old. It has nothing to do with cognitive ability, physical stature or dive skills. It's a ten year old growing body being exposed to the detrimental effects of nitrogen under pressure. Research on commercial divers shows us that at some point we all face the risk of bone loss and brain lesions.

Thanks for offering up the subject in a separate thread. I would not have commented on the original thread since it was off topic.

Edited by scorpio_fish, 05 January 2009 - 03:12 PM.

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#10 loftus

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 03:40 PM

I think George makes some good points.
Ultimately we don't really know whether it's safe or not, so is it really worth putting our kids at risk, no matter how small the risk may be?
A 10 year old has his whole life ahead of him to push the envelope.
Just because a 10 year old can do something, does not mean he should.

Edited by loftus, 05 January 2009 - 03:41 PM.

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#11 stewsmith

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 08:49 PM

my dad let me drive a car on a farm when i was 10. he would not have sat next to me and allowed me to drive at 70mph along a motorway though. i think it is great that your son has a great couple of hobbies, diving and photography and that he can actually do things with his dad. these type of family values are great. i have a nephew who i have introduced to diving, he is only 12. he is a very sensible lad and IMO would sail through his diving certification should he choose to do it. if he did his certification he would dive with me and louise as his parents are not divers. taking into account that he is very bright for his age ( and that i would actually rather he was under the water with me in an emergency than some of the divers i have witnessed around the world ) i would still keep the dives short and shallow.

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#12 Timmoranuk

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 09:29 PM

Scorpio, thanks for the link to that article. Very informative reading.

For my son it has been a gradual and conservative exposure to diving over the last 4 years (7-11). That's why he was breathing 36% (as 21%) from day one. He has progressed though all possible formal certifications and I am reassured by his confidence, competance and the highly complimentary feedback from each of his instructors (five so far - PADI, SDI, BSAC, TDI, PSAI, IANTD approved). His envelope has expanded at his own pace which he has demonstrated has been considered in a very mature and cognisant manner. I would also add that CJ's GP (family doctor) is both a qualified recreational diver and paediatrician and has expressed no concerns about his diving.

I guess that physically and mentally there can be wide differential between individuals and no more than when those individuals are in their formative years. In providing for CJ's diving I take great comfort from my own lengthy diving experience and qualifications, the feedback I have received from diving and medical professionals and in CJ's own abilities acquired throughout the entirety of his 11 years.

Of course diving agencies need to be prescriptive however a child who is capable of attaining JOW on their 10th birthday would also be up to the mark a day before.

I'm certainly not making case for wholesale exposure to young children but in response to Wetpixelers genuine concerns I hope that my comments mark me to be a father who has properly considered his son's interests. I don't know it all and I'm grateful for your kind and concerned advice. Thank you.
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#13 Drew

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 09:49 PM

Tim
First of all, you're a brave soul to tackle this subject openly. You'll find various opinions on the subject since there is no definitive answer to the questions at hand.
You say you've had DCI doing everything "right". There is no "right", just reduced risk on saturation points on a graph. Tolerances of nitrogen loading vary from physique to fitness, as well as external factors like temperature and even luck. There's no safety line on the graph if you don't go past a certain point of saturation per time table, you'll be 100% safe. Like you say, it can be a random event to get hit, where several nitrogen microbubbles colliding to form a bigger bubble in a location where it get gets jammed. But if you have fewer bubbles in tight spaces like bone patelets etc, the chances are reduced. Nobody has done conclusive studies on children's growing bones and how they react to nitrogen saturation but there are studies about the physiological impacts of diving. it is conclusive there are long term physiological changes that manifest on the bodies of adults who dive regularly (esp in cold water and deeper dives). Of course as adults, we choose to (or for quite a few, are ignorant) to accept these damages for the reward of diving for whatever reason. A lot of things are bad for us and we still do them. As adults we feel we can handle the challenges and consequences of diving.
However, when it comes to children, who although probably better at learning and absorbing facts, may not process them correctly. Ask any child psychologist about the maturity of children even in their mid teens and they will say the same thing, they are NOT functioning adults. Don't want to take the word of "a medical field made up to prey on weak minds?" Ask yourselves how you behaved as a teen and how many times you did so many stupid things even though you "knew" better? To expect a child to process information correctly, when even many adults can't, is unfair on the child.
That ex DAN president has a vested interest in diving as DAN would not exist if there were no divers. He may know many people who dived from 4 and lived to be "safe and healthy" adults, but I'd rather trust statements from people who actually do the research than anecdotal evidence from a guy with vested interest in expanding diving. To me any man in such a position who makes such a broad defining statement without actual proof besides his anecdotal observations, doesn't deserve any credibility.
Ultimately, CJ is your child and you will do as you see fit. And I'm sure you would never put him in harm's way. I hope you don't think this is a personal attack or someone trying to tell you how to raise your kid. I think it's important to consider as many facts as possible in making a decision.
My own anecdotal experience is based on a guy who was a professor of metallurgy, prometheus society member and diver for 12 years. As he was ascending from 40m, he felt pain in his ear. Following his training, he kept trying to clear his ear by pinching and blowing. He eventually blew out his ear. He could recite Boyle's law inside out but he couldn't apply it at depth cos he was narced and by the time he got shallow enough to think straight, the pummeling of his training took over. His simple cure? He should've pinched and sucked in! Fortunately I learnt that very early in my diving life so it's stuck. If suffering from ear pain while a) Descending... pinch and blow; b) ascending... pinch and suck! Everyone on the boat had forgotten that simple rule, and they were all adults.

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#14 ce4jesus

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 07:05 AM

Great topic. I have a 15 year old who is hesitant to get into the sport that my wife and I enjoy and we've never tried to force it one way or the other. She remains intrigued and will have to discover it at her own pace. However, I also have a girl that just turned 7 and she can't wait to get into SCUBA. Ever since she strapped on a snorkle at age 5 she's been chomping at the bit to turn 8 so she can start her certification. This thread has given me some pause for thought on the topic. Mentally, I think she's every bit ready, even moreso than the older child, but I'll have to look a little deeper into the physical part. To be honest, I fall into the ignorant catagory on the physical piece. I've always understood the risks of being bent but have totally ignored any long term affects and the study of those implications.
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#15 kornse

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 07:08 AM

I agree with Loftus. Theres is no need to rush in to things. I started snorkling very early on and when i turned 15 i took the Cmas** . But i still do mostly snorkling.

There were made studies i holland i think in the 90. they logged over 1200 dives with children and wrote down evrytime there was an "incedent". Incedent meaning problems equalising, freesing panic-attacks and so on. Each child were checked by a Doctor twice a year. They concluded that there were no fisiological hassards with children diving.

But feel that kids are not ready to take the responsibility of saving a divebuddy, mom or dad. Things can go wrong at 12meters even for an experienced diver... I see no reason to put them in that position.

Let them snorkel around for a couple of years its just as rewarding in my opinion.


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#16 Tjsnapper

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 08:12 AM

And to think that i was told as an 8 year old i had to wait 10 years before doing anything more than snorkeling....
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#17 adamhanlon

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 08:36 AM

Hi all,

First off I'm not a parent so don't feel at all qualified to pronounce on rights and wrongs, however I do have opinions!

The science of young people diving is poor. There is a very small sample, and almost all of the testing has occured within the limts that PADI have used. As is often the case, once you step outside of the existing testing, you run the very real risk of becoming a guinea pig yourself. There is almost no data for deeper diving or deco diving. It is largely understood that deco affect long bone growth-in mature adults this effect is limited, but the complications it may cause with skeletal development is the reason why most of the training agencies advocate pretty conservative depth limits.

I work in a busy dive centre, with a large number of people passing through it. We are blessed (?) with very cold, but often very clear water. When PADI took the decision to lower the age limit, we took a long hard look at the issue. Given that the number of younger divers was relatively small, what we discovered was that they featured in a disproportionately large number of incidents. My own experiene of teaching younger divers was that they typically make find the challenges involved in learning to dive quite straghtforward, so this seemed counter intuitive. It was only after looking hard at the individual instances that we figured it out. Children typically lack the maturity to deal with rescue situations, whether this involves them or an adult that is diving with them. Children will typically rely on an adult to do the informed risk analysis of a given situation, and then trust that adults judgement implicitly. If the adults judgement isn't sound and an incident results, the there will be a betrayal of trust.

Whilst there will of course be exceptions to this, there is another factor to consider. In much the same way as avid solo divers (Oh dear!) will say that the decision is theirs only-please spare a thought for the poor rescuers. I have had to attend to a number of incidents involving children-and they are particuarly hard on the people who have to pick up the pieces. There was a particuarly heart rending incident in which a young child effectively watched his parent die underwater. The parent in this case suffered a heart attack, so it was not a case of the risk being reasonably forseeable. This has so many awfull ramifications that it is hard to imaging the child ever recovering.

So we have kept the age limit at 12, despite the fact that it is not in our commercial interests to do so!

As a final note-PADI standards (including depths) apply only during training. Many responsible dive centres will chose to apply them whilst people are diving for "pleasure", because they are a proven and legally defensible set of regulations-but if an inividual choses not to follow them, that is up to the individual! What is probably more germane is the fact that voiding standards probably will also render your insurance nul and void-most policies have a "according to agency standards phrase built in!"

As I said I am not a parent, so I don't claim that I have any answers, only opinions!

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#18 ce4jesus

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 09:44 AM

Children typically lack the maturity to deal with rescue situations, whether this involves them or an adult that is diving with them. Children will typically rely on an adult to do the informed risk analysis of a given situation, and then trust that adults judgement implicitly. If the adults judgement isn't sound and an incident results, the there will be a betrayal of trust.


This is true and should be planned for. You can mitigate risk as we all do as divers. My plan was to have my daughter discover SCUBA next year in a pool, then proceed based on that experience. If we get to diving a year or so later, she would dive with a jon line attached to my BC. My wife would be the other adult with us on every dive. By then, both my wife and I should be rescue certified.

Whilst there will of course be exceptions to this, there is another factor to consider. In much the same way as avid solo divers (Oh dear!) will say that the decision is theirs only-please spare a thought for the poor rescuers. I have had to attend to a number of incidents involving children-and they are particuarly hard on the people who have to pick up the pieces. There was a particuarly heart rending incident in which a young child effectively watched his parent die underwater. The parent in this case suffered a heart attack, so it was not a case of the risk being reasonably forseeable. This has so many awfull ramifications that it is hard to imaging the child ever recovering.


I can't even imagine the difficulty of dealing with those things, but that said we can't live our lives in fear. We manage risk ahead of time and take every precaution. The fellow in your example would have likely dropped dead topside if not underwater. No more or less traumatic to deal with the loss of a loved one. If you're a rescuer, God Bless you. You know ahead of time that situations like this will happen and choose to place yourself in the line of fire.
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#19 Giles

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 09:50 AM

I just want to add that I don't think it is right at all to think cause you are a trained solo diver it make sit ok to dive with a buddy unable to deal with emergency situations.

Solo diving and diving with someone of lower abilities are not the same thing. Hell I know a lot of instructors who shouldn't be teaching kids, and a few that shouldn't even be teaching.
The debate of solo diving is separate from kids diving and something that is only based on opinion really. It still amuses me that people teach it .. it's almost ironic. Do 10 year olds still have to dive with a professional ? ... just read up on it ... no they don't just a certified adult ... which really could mean serious problems underwater. Remember we aren't saying that everyone who dives with a 10 year old has 10 billion unecessary technical qualifications. Most will be Open water divers with maybe 4 dives a year under their belt.

Children and diving is really a great thing, its amazing how their keeness can renew your own for diving and make it not just a progression of getting in and out of water but make you realise the fun involved again.when was the last time anyone here span in circles or loop the loops or swam inverted etc .. the fun things that made us love diving.

To be honest I am probably a little bit jealous of 10 year olds being able to dive. I went diving very yound in Barbados ans was told I had to wait until 16 to learn in the UK, I think i finally started at 14 when they changed the rules, and then as an instructor watched it go to 12 then 10. If you want to be cynical what happened was PADI ran out of people to make money from .. so they opened it up. They had to keep the amount of people being certified at a certain level. The easiest way to do it was lower the age group. Considering where all tables come from it would be pretty silly of us to assume there is any real information on childrens bodies and the effects of depth and compressed air. Not many children in the military.

Edited by Giles, 06 January 2009 - 09:58 AM.

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#20 DuncanS

DuncanS

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 11:42 PM

Hi

Some interesting points on both sides....

Be sure to check with the operator before hand that they will allow him to dive this deep and also check the small print on your insurance to make sure you do not void it should an incident occur, bills can add up fairly quickly.

Most of my feelings have already been covered by other in the thread. You seem to have looked into it in detail and are aware of the possible risks / rammifications. We get so many people out in Egypt who have done their O/W and then want to go directly to Ras Mo, Thistle etc that they are simply not ready for and though blind ignorance moan and bitch about it.

All the best and safe diving!

Rgds

Duncan
Duncan

RedSeaSnapper.com