The attraction of paintball for the younger generation is easy to understand. They socialize with children their age in an indoor or outdoor environment that offers the opportunity to work as a team – and there is an element of healthy competition. Paintball also requires adherence to rules while having fun using special equipment and protective clothing.
Parents often have misgivings about the safety of paintball for younger competitors. After all, the popular image of the sport features high-velocity, gel-filled paintball projectiles that can sometimes leave bruising. However, a closer look at the minimum age needed to enjoy the benefits of paintball can reveal a reality that will provide reassurance to parents.
The Need to Learn the Requirements of Paintball
The first step to ensuring that the child enjoys the paintball experience – and can do so with an appropriate age group is to become informed about the minimum ages for participation. These can vary from state to state and are often set by the operators of the paintball venue operator. Speak to the venue owner and they will be happy to explain the rules and regulations governing the correct age for children to play paintball safely – and have fun.
However, conforming to the requirements of age groupings is not the only factor at play. The participant must be mature enough to understand the rules governing the game, especially those relating to safety.
Appropriate Age to Start Playing Paintball
Most venue operators will recommend that a child’s first paintball experience can start from the age of 10. By this age, your child (by and large) has the ability and maturity to understand the rules of the game and therefore adhere to essential safety precautions. They will also be able to understand the nature of friendly competition, and not react inappropriately if they are hit by a paintball.
Parents should understand that the final decision about whether or not their child participates is up to them. If the child is under 18 parents will need to sign an indemnity form.
Why There Is Age Restriction to Play Paintball?
Commercial paintball projectiles travel at 240 feet per second (professional velocities are around 300 feet per second). At this velocity, a paintball hit can hurt. However, this is recognized as part of the fun. It encourages critical thinking, problem-solving, and the value of teamwork.
However, the child must be mature enough to recognize that the rules are there for a reason and that they are responsible for their safety and the safety of others. A paintball strike to the body can leave a small bruise that will fade quickly. Removing your mask while on the field can have severe consequences, including serious physical injury to the face and especially the eyes. Parents must be confident that their child understands how to follow the rules and that they are there for a reason.
Paintball can be enormous fun. It provides a healthy and safe (if rules are strictly followed) experience for the youth. But it cannot be over-emphasized – safety first.