Buying your own gear is a great way to save money for families on multiple scuba diving trips. If you’re shopping for scuba gear for kids, it’s essential to know the different features and sizes to look for when compared with adult-sized equipment. Take a look at these differences and find all the essentials to enjoy a family scuba diving destination.
Mask and Fins
Children’s masks need to have the same quality and reliability as adult masks. Don’t skimp on this item, particularly with snorkeling or play masks. Stop by a local scuba shop for your child to try on a mask to ensure a proper fit.
Junior-sized masks are typically more affordable than full-sized options. Be sure the skirt of the mask doesn’t meet your child’s hairline and that it isn’t too close to your child’s mouth. For a growing kid, consider a mask that doesn’t have a built-in purge valve or peripheral view. These extras are great investments for a long-term mask. Still, as your child is growing and training, a standard option made with quality materials may be all you need.
Because most flippers have a range of sizes, you can invest a little more in flippers that will last longer as your child grows. Just like your full-sized fins, you want a comfortable pair of flexible fins that are efficient enough for your child to keep up. Rigid tips or heavy fins can cause leg cramps and prevent kids from enjoying the experience.
Child-sized booties need to fit snugly, just like their shoes. Also, like shoes, booties will probably need to be replaced every year as your kid grows. Look for affordable options that are comfortable but won’t break the bank. For shore diving, booties should be comfortable enough to walk on sand and rocks. Look for a pair of crew-length options to prevent them from slipping off in the water.
This is an area where it can be tempting to pass up, but you mustn’t do it. Unfortunately, children become cold much quicker than adults, so it’s a good idea to pick up a wetsuit for any temperature.
Choose a wetsuit with a front zipper that’s one size too big so your child can easily put it on. This will also allow your child to use it for a more extended period before he or she outgrows it.
A BCD needs to fit correctly. If you’ve ever used an oversized BCD, you know how uncomfortable and restrictive it can be. Invest in snug fit so your child will feel safe and comfortable underwater. If the tank rides low when attached, it’s a sign that the BCD is too loose. This will cause it to ride up around your kid’s ears in the water, which is never a good feeling.
Look for an adjustable BCD to get the most use out of this essential piece of gear. Ask for discounts for junior-sizes options to get a reliable brand that fits well and doesn’t sacrifice quality.
One of the only pieces of equipment that doesn’t change with age is a regulator. Your child will keep this regulator for a long time, so it’s worth investing in a quality option. Consider a travel regulator, which typically has a lower profile than a standard one. As kids try to keep the mouthpiece in place, many have a tendency to bite down hard. Be prepared to replace the mouthpiece frequently, and look for a small, comfortable mouthpiece.
Shop Kid’s Scuba Gear at A-1 Scuba in Denver
From kids snorkel set options to the latest regulators, find all the gear you need to kit out your kids at A-1 Scuba. Schedule a class to teach your little ones the fine art of scuba diving and gear up for a fantastic family diving trip.
Photo Credit by Violeta Marculescu