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June 1987

Minimum Age Requirements for Scuba Divers

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics Scripps Clinic 10666 N TorreN P La Jolla, CA 92037

Am J Dis Child. 1987;141(6):606. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1987.04460060024020

Sir.—I recently finished reading an article published in AJDC on the pediatric scuba diver1This article was informative, but I take exception to the unjustified generalization made about adolescents by the authors.

Concerning the minimum age requirements scuba divers, the authors stated that

during the normal stresses of development, certain children and adolescents develop adjustment disorders with symptoms and signs of impulsivity, lack of responsibility, egocentricity, and emotional lability. These characteristics can impair physical performance and responses to environmental hazards; therefore, such characteristics are not desirable in dive partners.

From this, the authors concluded that a higher minimum age requirement is recommended for diving.

As a physician with over 16 years of experience dealing with children, adolescents, and their families, the undesirable characteristics listed in the article apply equally to some adults as to the pediatric/adolescent population.

Certainly, there may be some valid physiologic and developmental reasons for increasing the minimum age for scuba diving. However, to exclude the pediatric/adolescent age group because a