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Discussion Starter #1
You might have read my thread about teaching my first family diving (here), and the issues I had initially. Well those sorted themselves out but I've got another issue now that I'd like some advice on. I think a lot about my courses and as a relatively new OWSI am always looking at ways to be a better instructor.

My issue is with the 10-year old girl I'm teaching. Now in the last pool session she was much improved and was getting a hang of the skills. She could share air fine and was OK with removing & replacing her mask etc. I'm sure that in one more session we can finish off the pool skills and potentially move to open water. My issue is that I don't kow if she is physically strong enough. She's done the float and swim, but it sometimes takes her 2 hands to push the power inflator button on her BCD. My main priority is her safety, and her parents are aware that she might not be able to be Open Water certified if I don't think she's ready. But I know that it is my name going on her cert card, and I want to create safe and able divers.

I was wondering what a general consensus on here would be of certifying her up to the Junior SCUBA Diver level. The parents are responsible and would understand the reasons why I was doing that (so that she'd always have to dive with a professional), and wouldn't try to get her certified somewhere else until she was strong enough. Or should I take the view that if she isn't strong enough to be an JOW diver, I shouldn't certify her as a JSD? Or am I worrying too much about the strength she has?

It's a tough one, but I'm sure you people experienced with instructing children can help me out a little here:)
 

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As far as I remember, 10/11 year olds always have to dive with either a profesional or a parent/guardian. If the parents are divers, I would assume they would want to keep her safe whilst diving with themselves as well.

Having said that, if she can't master the skill, then you shouldn't certify her at all. I generally err on the side of caution and from the sound of your post, you do too. I would offer her more pool time before going to O/W and expalin your concerns to her parents.

Good luck, Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Chris. The thing is, I think she can "master" the skills in one more pool session, but I'm not sure if she's physically strong enough to dive. As a 10-year old JOW diver, she would have to dive with a professional or her parents. As her parents will be new divers too, the JSD rating would mean she would always need a professional there who can keep a strong eye on her, without worrying about their own diving situation.
 

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aka Chimp 1 or Mavis...
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Personally I would be more worried with the fact that she can't dump air from the BCD. I now dive a wing with kidney dump, but from my memory of BCDs, the majority of the have to dump from the hose? Is this the case with her equipment?

If it was my daughter, I wouldn't want her to have to rely on someone else to maintain her bouyancy for her (on the descent primarily). But what about the surface when you have to maintain positive bouyancy?

If her parents are divers, they will understand your concerns. There are exercises that she can do to strengthen her hands to improve things for the future though.
 

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Ginger, Irish, sometimes stroppy
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Do the standards say she has to be able to do the operation single handed?
Is she able to do it consistently with two hands?
Is it possible that a different inflator type or grip may help?

If the answer to the first is yes then your answer is clear.
If the answer two the second is Yes then I think she should be ok, as long as you make it clear to her and her parents that it is something she needs to be aware of and careful about (is it any different to certifying a diver with a particular disability? wo has to find a solution particular to them...after all the girl will gain strength)

And for the third, some different inflator configurations are more or less accessible than others, she may be able to chose a bc for herself that she finds easier to operate.

Sorry, I know I'm not an instructor but was very interested in your post.

Conor
 

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Ginger, Irish, sometimes stroppy
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Gloc, I was assuming a pull dump would mean thatwasn't a problem.
 

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Wreck Ferret 1
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Bubblemakers

Are you sure its not just the equipment, i know the buddy tek wings need a hard push but other bcd's only need finger presure.

We have bubblemakers (8 years old) that dont have trouble putting air in their bcd's, I cant belive that she is that weak that she cant press the button.

if that is the case surly she should not even be in the water!.

my 2p worth

Ron
 

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Discussion Starter #8
GLOC - the deflate button is ok for her (although she had trouble with the pull release on the inflator hose too). She can inflate it, but it seems to take her a bit of effort with both hands (though she usually tries with one first).

Conor - some interesting thoughts there comparing her to a diver with a disability. She might have to find a BCD that has an easier inflator for her, but I think they are going to be renting their BCDs/regs most of the time. In that case, she's going to have to make sure she can use the inflator button with each BCD that she rents.

Ronpowers - she can press the button on the BCD she's using, it just takes her two hands usually to do it. I will admit that the rental BCD inflators I use for pool work with students are sometimes a little stiff, but not overly so. And her 12 year-old sister has no such problems with it.
 

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aka Chimp 1 or Mavis...
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Top Bloke
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Are you sure its not just the equipment, i know the buddy tek wings need a hard push but other bcd's only need finger presure.

We have bubblemakers (8 years old) that dont have trouble putting air in their bcd's, I cant belive that she is that weak that she cant press the button.
Yes I would go with a bit of equipment problem.

I have done chats for very small children on scuba diving and when playing with the kit (not in the water) none have had any problems.
 

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Mark Milburn
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I think you can get a little too cautious sometimes. As said above she can only dive with her parents or a PADI professional, the inflate button would be part of her buddy check and any problems would be realised before she went into the water, if the checks were done properly.

Personally I would also say it was an equipment problem, any PADI 5 Star centre should have maintained equipment and that includes inflators. I once went to a dive shop that had a leaky inflator on a BCD, I told them, it was still leaking the second time, so after the dive I pulled it off and told them that faulty equipment kills, fix it!!

It only a Schraeder (spelling) valve from an car wheel, costs pence, my local garage give me them!!
 

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Ginger, Irish, sometimes stroppy
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Out of curiousity isn't it an option to ask PADI for a ruling on this? I'm sure it can't be the first time this has happened?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I think you can get a little too cautious sometimes. As said above she can only dive with her parents or a PADI professional, the inflate button would be part of her buddy check and any problems would be realised before she went into the water, if the checks were done properly.

Personally I would also say it was an equipment problem, any PADI 5 Star centre should have maintained equipment and that includes inflators. I once went to a dive shop that had a leaky inflator on a BCD, I told them, it was still leaking the second time, so after the dive I pulled it off and told them that faulty equipment kills, fix it!!

It only a Schraeder (spelling) valve from an car wheel, costs pence, my local garage give me them!!
The thing is, if I go into a Japanese shop and tell them their inflator valve is too stiff for this 10-year old girl to use, they'll just look at me and nod their head. Nothing will likely get done, and there virtually nowhere else I can go to get equipment. While all the gear is working 100% and with virtually no leaks or anything, I don't know if they would take apart the gear just because of one foerign dive instructor's complaint. And if I pulled off the inflator, I would simply not be allowed to rent equipment or tanks from them again!

Conor - I'm sure there must be some sort of precedent for this, and am hoping it comes up here or on another board I've posted on.
 

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A Moderate from 04/01/07-24/12/12
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I try not to teach children because I am never really too sure how much they want to dive and how much they are taking in.

I did once teach two young girls (10yrs approx I think) but they were very different in size. One was taller and stronger and the other was small and quite weak by comparison. We had special children-sized BC's and whilst one was competent with the power inflator, the other often needed two hands to inflate it. She managed it reliably though.

All her individual skills were very good apart from her reg recovery which she seemed to struggle with. She would often reach round in a funny way hit her hand on the SPG and then try to put that in her mouth. With practice that improved but she also found swimming a 5litre steel tank round the swimming pool hard work. She would be easily destabalised by it.

At the end of the scheduled course time I had the unenviable task of explaining to the parents that I did not think she was ready to go into open water and that perhaps another 6 - 12 months or so of growing and some more pool time could make the difference.

The parents were not happy with this so the LDS owner did some more work in the pool and then took her into open water. In the open water class 2 she was asked to do the reg removal and recovery, made a hash of it, climbed over the instructor ripping off their mask and reg and then "bolted" for the surface. Fortunately the Instructor managed to keep a hand on the girl and they both arrived at the surface safely.

I don't know what happened to the girl's diving after that.

I recount this story as an example of why, when you think something is not quite right, it can be better to go with your feelings even if you can't put a finger on the specific reason why.

I always let the fact that my name was going to be on the card guide my decision. Either way good luck with your decision.

Best Regards
Mal
 

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First, although the official lowest age from PADI is 10, I thought in the UK the minimum age for open water was 12, mainly due to insurance restrictions at open water sites. I was told by a dive agency that anyone under 12 had to do their open water abroad.

My son is a junior OW, in fact he now has his Advanced open water passing them both at aged 12. He's quite skinny for his age and his main problem was probably BCD low pressure hose removal and replacement. Certainly if this girl can't press the air dump with one hand, how is she going to remove and replace her BCD hose? I just don't see it.

If anyone can't do the skills, then surely you can't pass them, I don't see that their age comes into it. Whatever their parents say, surely we don't pass people because their parents will complain if we don't?

If I remember right, PADI considers juniors up to the age of 15. I think the restrictions of only diving with parents or Divemaster and above last until this age?

On a more general note, I think it depends on the child. My son wanted to dive, he neither needed nor received any encouragement from me. Certainly I've come across others who were there under some family pressure and that can't be a good introduction.
 

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PADI Internet Specialty Diver
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First, although the official lowest age from PADI is 10, I thought in the UK the minimum age for open water was 12, mainly due to insurance restrictions at open water sites. I was told by a dive agency that anyone under 12 had to do their open water abroad.....
The UK is no different to anywhere else (where there is no legal limit) but yes AFAIK many inland sites are open only to 12 upward. However, the sea, lakes and rivers have no restriction therefore the UK has no restriction. Its just a PITA for schools to find suitable venues.

Other countries have legal minimums, Spain, IIRC is 16 irrespective of whether the individual holds a certification from another country or not.

Chris
 

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YDs Most Southerly Monkey
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At the end of the scheduled course time I had the unenviable task of explaining to the parents that I did not think she was ready to go into open water and that perhaps another 6 - 12 months or so of growing and some more pool time could make the difference.

The parents were not happy with this


It's pretty sad that parents will allow their ambitions for their child override considerations of safety and welfare. I can't believe that parents would place so much pressure on a child, let alone risk her safety like this.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Certainly if this girl can't press the air dump with one hand, how is she going to remove and replace her BCD hose? I just don't see it.

She had a bit of trouble removing it, but managed it a few times. However, replacing it is not a performance requirement.
 

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I've seen adults have problems pressing the inflator button! A lot of people don't have strong grips these days. More manual labour needed! How much exercise can you get from pushing a mouse around? :teeth:

Jim
 
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