If it happens that you are looking for a certain activity or a form of sport that provides you and your family an out of this world experience, or you are someone who is into adventures and teamwork, scuba diving is probably the sport you are looking for.
Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus or SCUBA is considered a non-competitive sport that is enjoyed by millions of people worldwide. This sport can be done recreationally or professionally by trained individuals. This is considered as one of the outcomes of technological developments and advancements that gives us the opportunity and gain the ability to delve into the underwater world.
It is known as the best way to explore the breathtaking world beneath the water. You can see closely the different marine creatures that inhabit below the azure waters, however, with an only a limited supply of oxygen that is contained in the gas tank or breathing gas that is usually compressed air and it is attached on your back causing you to consider your fellow divers as your lifelines.
With this being said, it is still enjoyed by many, even children.
Scuba diving is an interesting sport for kids because of its features and certain factors. If it happens that you are a parent and scuba diving is your favorite activity to do whenever an opportunity arises, as early as ten years old, you can share your hobby to your children, and this would even teach them various lessons and they would be able to acquire essential life skills.
They will spend their leisure time doing a physical activity instead of playing video games and watching television. They will surely be amazed by the various exotic plants and animals underneath the water. Scuba diving can be challenging but with effort, support, and time, it will be worth trying for, considering the benefits a child can get. The following statements below are the advantages of scuba diving for kids.
Scuba diving naturally develops a child’s creativity
Given the nature of a child, it’s only natural that they are incredibly curious about the things around them. They want to see how the world lives and what beings are present in it. Scuba diving provides them that experience by allowing them to learn and explore firsthand about the underwater habitats.
It is proven that exposing to these foreign sights and creatures will enhance a child’s senses that would improve their imagination and creativity.
Scuba diving helps kids to grow
With all the fun and enjoyment mentioned, scuba diving can also be serious. Children will have the responsibility in the process of learning the said sport. They have to listen to their credible and reliable mentors or instructor, and also, they have to know the proper preparations to be able to expand their knowledge and skill prior to the said sport.
They will learn a lot of essential life skills like teamwork and trust, problem solving and prevention skills, and risk management that will serve as the foundation of their maturity.
Scuba diving improves the sense of independence of a child
Obviously, scuba diving is a very personal experience. You tend to be alone with your thoughts and conception and explore underwater the way you want it to be. And although it teaches you the virtue of teamwork, cause scuba diving is not an individual sport, and kids will still be able to understand and learn on their own that will result from accumulating the feeling of independence.
They will realize and be aware enough of the possible consequences or outcomes by their own actions.
Scuba diving as a way of raising awareness
Looking at the vast world below the water with various astonishing exotic marine creatures would influence your perception and tend to give more importance to it. As a result, we somehow want to participate in most related programs prior to protecting and preserving underwater species.
Although this does not apply to everyone, pollution and damage caused by scuba diving somehow decreased over the past years.
This makes it more reasonable for the parents to encourage their children to participate in this activity, not only for health benefits but also for its environmental advantages.
It is fun!
Scuba diving is undeniably fun and adventurous that can help us in certain circumstances. It is a recreational activity or sport that relieves a child’s stress and helps nurture their mental health. It is also a way to cement the bond and relationship within the family.
For instance, parents somehow find it difficult to connect with their children nowadays. And as one way of reducing that gap, scuba diving can solve that issue, especially on family vacations.
Taking into consideration the parent’s perspective, it is natural to be concerned about their child’s safety.
It is important to remember that scuba diving is generally safe for kids, provided that certain rules and safety precautions are to be observed. Parents should consider the following factors;
The desire of a child
This is the first one to consider because, as we all know, scuba diving is not an easy sport. It is somewhat considered as risky and dangerous. Because of this, a child must not be forced to do this. Doing scuba diving should not be because of the desire of his or her parents and friends only but with his or her willingness to do it as well. As long as one’s child is not averse to the idea of scuba diving and is able to do it, then there is no reason for him or her not to try the said sport.
Check the children’s health
Inquire to a pediatrician to make sure that your child is able to go scuba diving, and if he or she is under any form of medical conditions, see to it that the gasses inside the diving cylinder will have no negative effect and complications on the child’s overall health.
Know basic knowledge in swimming
Since scuba diving is an activity performed underwater, it is vital to introduce to them the fundamentals of swimming. It does not mean that you have to register your child to swimming lessons that teach advanced and proficient swimming skills, you just have to let them learn the basic swimming skills when scuba diving to enjoy the expedition in a safer way fully.
Even though you have no intention of going scuba diving, it is still important to learn how to swim for you to avoid drowning incidents. Furthermore, swimming is also a form of exercise that provides benefits to one’s health.
Sign up for scuba diving lessons
Scuba diving has also its drawbacks if mistakes are committed because of the divers’ ignorance. With this, it is crucial to understand and learn the skills on how to use the gear and equipment that are required and the dos and don’ts while scuba diving.
Attain a children scuba diving certification
It is advisable to get a scuba diving certificate whether you will consider it as a lifelong hobby or not. Scuba diving certification programs for children provide the necessary training that will help your child to attain certain qualifications enabling them to have access to the deeper world of scuba diving. Certificates are given to them, proving that they are now better divers and you will feel much more at ease to dive with them.
Have the right equipment
Many factors are considered in finding the best scuba gear or equipment, especially for your child. Before diving to the beautiful spot, make sure you’re ready and prepared to go. You have to be fully equipped safely, especially the little ones, because there are specialized gears that are made for them. Choosing the best equipment and gears for children can be challenging. But here is a list of the best kid’s scuba gear that can be found on the market.
This is the first and common equipment a scuba diver ought to have. A diving mask must have low volume for it to be clear easily as well as pick a mask that is made of soft silicone for the delicate skin of the child. In addition, choose the mask that has a better seal than the masks of snorkels for it to fit well, and snug on the child’s face or the water might ooze through small openings or interstice that will result for the children to panic or doubt his or her safety while diving below the water’s surface that may hinder him or her in having fun.
Likewise, pick those masks that are brightly-colored for the little ones that will also give them enjoyment while using it.
To be able to find the best mask for your child, there are steps to follow. First, it is vital to let them try several ones for them to know what mask they will be comfortable with. Let them find their preferred mask, not too tight and also not too loose.
Find the mask that just fits right into the child’s head. In addition, Parents or guardians should place the mask on the kids’ eyes and over his or her nose but don’t wear the strap behind their heads yet, and it should remain there without using his or her hand.
After that, tell your child to breathe in using his or her nose and hold it for a few seconds to know whether the seal of the mask is good or not. Lastly, choose the mask that has a wide split strap to be able to adjust the strap based on the size of his or her head causing them to feel comfortable and secure. It would be advisable to purchase low-profile masks that are usually lighter for your child’s comfort as well.
This is the second equipment a child would learn to use. It is important to find a snorkel that has a sturdy mouthpiece so that it will be easy for the small ones to bite it.
It is important that the snorkel can be utilized by attaching it to the strap of your child’s mask that is adjustable for his or her comfort. They should place their tongue into the mouthpiece of a snorkel to help him or her to breathe while swimming along the surface of the water.
This gear is considered the best one to use in teaching kids for them to learn the basic foundation in scuba diving, especially beginners. To instantaneously master utilizing this equipment, children can first use this in swimming pools since there are certain pools that are intended just for them.
To maintain the overall quality of the said equipment, always remember to wash it using fresh water after every use. Afterward, make sure to store it in a cool, dry place and keep it away from direct sunlight. To forestall the spoiling of the silicone parts, avoid it from direct contact of neoprene rubber.
If the child is already proficient in using the mask and snorkel, fins are the next one to introduce to them. Choosing fins for your child is like choosing his or her shoes.
You have to check if it fits right or if he or she is comfortable wearing it. It will be better if you are able to find fins that have ultra-soft foot pocket and with lightweight and very flexible blades to help your kid to kick easily and avoid incidents like ankle strain. It will enable them to propel faster and swim further, but you should see to it that they would not be too far away from you to ensure their safety.
This would also develop your child’s leg muscles. Similarly, you can also let them use a water shoes or booties that your child can wear inside the fins if he or she needs to take off the fins.
In selecting the best fins for your child, you should also know the different types of it. As a beginner in the sport, it is advisable to pick between the two basic types of fins, which are full foot fins and open heel fins. Full foot fins are where the fins are covering the entire bottom of a child’s foot.
This is the most popular style because of the comfort and security it provides. Open heel fins also called open-back fin meaning your child’s heel is exposed, and it also, includes an adjustable strap wherein you can still use it if your feet are fast-growing.
It is somewhat convenient and practical. However, it is not that safe to use because of the fact that the heel is exposed that would cause it to have cuts or wounds because of sharp objects your child might walk into.
Buoyancy control device or buoyancy compensator
This gear is also known as an inflatable jacket and can be considered similar to a life vest as it also maintains the neutral buoyancy of a person at depth in different water levels and also the positive buoyancy on the surface. There are buoyancy control devices that are available for children.
Those were specifically designed for them with easy to understand the operation and ensures a good fit that is appropriate for a child’s body build even he or she grows bigger. This equipment is important in scuba diving because it helps you ascend, descend, and float by adding or releasing air. It comes with a jacket-style for the children to feel more cushy and secure.
You should consider a BC that is made with a wraparound air cell to be easy and convenient for the kids to use.
This is solely designed for the divers to be flexible and hydrodynamics, maintain the desired warmth and also, their resistance to the wind, their safety, and keeping a stable buoyancy for them to be comfortable and secure while in water and onshore. As we all know, we usually find it difficult to move, especially underwater, that results to limited movements.
As a result, we were not able to do the things we want to do beneath the water that causes us not fully to make the most out of it. Wet suits are available in long and short sleeves depending on the preferred style of the divers.
For the little ones, choose those wet suits that are easy to wear, offers ultraviolet protection and thermal-bonded knee pads to prevent them for having cuts or scrapes as well as those that fits just right to their body because they usually get cold faster than adults because they have lower body fat so avoid picking wet suits that are too loose for them.
Moreover, it is advisable for them to use short sleeve wetsuits for them to improve their arm’s mobility, and if you want to increase their excitement in doing the activity, you can select wet suits that are colorful and has aesthetic designs even to appeal the children’s interest.
To make it still usable and last in the long run, there are tips on how to maintain it properly. The following steps are listed below;
- Rinse the wet suit after every use with fresh and cold water. This is to wash the residue of sea salt that divers usually get from scuba diving. Similarly, it is advisable to wash both inside and outside of the wet suit.
- There are soaps that are designated for washing it.
- Air drying is the most suitable for drying the suit since ultraviolet rays damage the material used in the suit.
Get those diving regulators that are designed for travel or women because they are particularly small, and its hose is lighter and flexible that would best fit for smaller mouths, avoids it getting fatigued, especially on long dives and make it easier for them to keep the demand valve in place.
A diving cylinder is also known as a scuba tank. There are two types of this that are often used, namely, steel cylinder and Aluminum cylinder. Steel cylinders are reliable and tough when it comes to external properties but it is more sensitive on the inside because it tends to rust easily. On the other hand, aluminum cylinders are stronger on internal properties and more prone to external damages.
Choosing a cylinder for your child is to consider what is appropriate for his or her body build. Seven liters or ten liters of cylinder are usually the best sizes for kids because it is lighter so that it will be easy to carry especially the ones that provide handles.
After knowing the benefits and learning how to use the various required gear in scuba diving, it is also important to learn the “Green Coral Code” wherein, corals and other marine life are being protected and preserved. Corals are undoubtedly beautiful that you even want to get closer to them and touch it.
However, there are precautionary measures that we have to keep in our minds. Corals are invertebrate animals, and they attach themselves to the seafloor causing people to have mistaken them as plants. Besides, coral reefs play vital roles in certain aspects which include, coastal protection, habitat, food resource, economic aspect, tourism wealth, and also, it is considered as a source of treating diseases in the future.
As a parent, you can teach these rules and regulations to your kids to show them how important underwater creatures are. The regulations that are being observed are as follows:
- Instruct them not to touch and step on coral reefs because it eventually dies.
- Keep away from coral reefs while propelling your feet, especially when wearing fins because a sudden spill of water might permanently damage the corals.
- Be careful about descending while scuba diving because you might end up landing on the reefs, causing them to destroy.
- Picking corals is strictly prohibited because of the bad after effect. To support this regulation, there are specific laws that were implemented by the government, and there are distinct organizations that emphasize and gave focus to the said matter.