Fears of parents. CPR and self-lift courses for children are all the rage

Four years ago, Lucia Di Bello, mother of twins, began to feel what it was like to have true "mother fears." Their little daughters began to walk and move autonomously and every time they saw a sink or any other mirror of water they threw themselves on their heads. Such was his fear that the girls, water fans, would accidentally fall and drown that he began to look for solutions. The first, obviously, was to teach them to swim. But I knew that it just didn't solve the underlying problem. There had to be something else. In the middle of that search he reached the Infant Swimming Resource courses (better known as ISR), a new method of self-lift for children from 6 months to 6 years, and he understood that that was what he needed.

"The problem was that they occurred in Rosario and La Plata, but they did not exist in the city of Buenos Aires. With the little girls, I decided to travel to Rosario to do the ISR instructorate with the first person who brought the method to the Argentina. It's a seven-week intensive course. It was difficult because I had to leave my daughters here. But I was determined to do it. "

Lucia not only left her daughters, but also a job in the human resources area of ​​a company to learn and teach the ISR technique, which arouses, especially at this time of year, a lot of interest. It is no accident: more and more, parents are looking for tools to deal with their fears. Courses that prevent accidents or invite you to take action (such as CPR) are all the rage, and are full of women and men with children who want to know how to act in an emergency.


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Francisca, 2, learns to float before the eyes of her mother, Paula Martorell Source: LA NACION – Credit: Juan

Many attribute the furor over these courses to a "more aware" society that seeks to take action. And while this is true, there are those who also attribute this greater interest to a state of growing social anxiety. "We are in a moment where we are afraid of everything. And this often leads people to want to control something, or feel that they can do it. It is very valid to know how to do CPR, but all this boom is undoubtedly closely linked to the fantasy of control, "says psychologist Beatriz Goldberg, individual and couple crisis specialist and author of numerous books.

Di Bello, who is a certified instructor in
ISR Colegiales, says that all the time he receives parents distressed by situations they lived or acquaintances with their children in pools. "Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in young children. And it does not necessarily have to do with irresponsible parents," he says. "We always say that this method does not replace adult supervision in any way. But an accident, whatever , it happens in seconds, and many times it is not careless. You turned to look at your other son and it happened. The boys are extremely curious and the water is always an attraction for them. That is why prevention is important, that the boys learn the technique until you have the help of an adult. This year, starting in October, the agenda explodes, there is a waiting list. "

The ISR methodology consists of individual 10-minute classes every day for 6 to 8 weeks. "We are going little by little. There are very aquatic boys who have the theme and others who do not want to know anything with putting their heads down in the water. But with all the love in the world and containment, we make them put their heads down and in doing they realize that they can, that nothing happens. And it is good to clarify that they are not swimming lessons, here children learn to be independent in the water. "

Float, turn around, swim. Float, turn around, swim. And so on to the edge. That simple sequence that is repeated is the basis of the self-lift method that in the last classes is even done with boys with clothes. "80% of the accidents happen out of season, with the boys dressed. The clothes weigh, the diaper weighs much more … that's why an important part of the technique is that the boys can make it dressed", explains Di Bello.

Paula Martorell is Francisca's mother, two years old, and Felicitas, 4. Her oldest daughter took the ISR course when she was two years old. The youngest is finishing it now. "It is for a safety issue. That they know what to do if they fall into the water is a peace of mind for both them and for me," he says. "I am very much in touch with the water, I sail for a lifetime, and my sisters have pools in their houses, of course, I never stop looking at them, but ISR is a tool that gives them time to know what to do and if you lost sight of it, have the peace of mind that if it fell into the pool it is floating and not the bottom ".

Beyond safety, Paula also highlights the confidence that boys achieve when they learn the method. "As a mother, you often transmit a lot of fears to them. Don't do this, don't do the other … I think the best thing you can do is for your children to gain confidence. It's amazing how good they feel when they manage to do it. Yes it’s an effort to carry it every day, it’s worth it. It’s a tool that is useful for life. ”

In addition to taking the ISR course, Di Bello ensures that many parents consult him for places to conduct CPR and first aid workshops. "As parents there are many variables that we do not control. Here many learn about prevention, I emphasize that. And one thing leads to another: many are interested in taking resuscitation courses because they begin to become aware of the importance of doing so." .

Nora Zonis is a pediatrician, mother of three children of 10, 8 and 4 years and a member of the group
Parenting in Action. For five years he has been giving CPR workshops and first aid for parents and the community in general. He decided to specialize after working 15 years as an emergency doctor, both in the public and private spheres. Two facts marked the direction of this decision. The first was a 6-month-old baby who arrived in cardiorespiratory arrest after having suffered a sudden death. The parents entered desperately saying that they had not known what to do, it was irreversible. The other, a baby who did not respond, did not breathe, and as soon as he began to do cardiac compressions he reacted, recovered and walked very well.


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The CPR courses taught by pediatrician Nora Zonis are aimed at parents and caregivers who seek to know how to act in an emergency Source: LA NACION – Credit: Courtesy

"I promised to bring tools so that those who raise children and face a critical situation can take action from another place. Pediatric consultations that reach many guards have to do with trauma and external injuries, badly called accidents , related to the exposure of children to risk situations, "he says." The vast majority of these situations occur in the presence of an adult. As a mother, I realized that although one tries to do everything possible to prevent the risk, many times things happen and it is important that we as adults present in the place begin to act from the moment things happen, having the possibility of doing the best possible for the other. "

From frequent to critical

Although knowing how to do CPR is one of the key tools in first aid and those requested, the courses that Zonis dictates cover many more areas than those of cardiac compressions, which are only used in extreme cases. "The parents who arrive at the workshops seek above all to learn how to solve frequent situations such as trauma, choking, burns and poisoning. But on the other hand they also want to know how to act if they are facing a critical situation in order to act as efficiently as possible. and not waste time helping the other. "

In this sense, the offer of courses in which first aid is taught is enormous, as is the attendance. In the Argentine Cardiology Foundation, courses for individuals and institutions have multiplied in recent months. And the demand is so great that several medical institutions began to offer them at home. One of them is Vittal: the Getapp at Home program was created at the request of the associates themselves. It consists of receiving the training at home (it can be the SUM of a building as well) for the whole family group of up to 7 people, that is, they can include grandparents, nannies, friends and neighbors.

"It is a theoretical-practical workshop. Today there is clearly a tendency to know, not to improvise. Many people who experienced traumatic situations, see the paralysis of people and that motivates them to take these courses. The dissemination is rapid and in these cases awareness is here to stay, "says Sergio Cappiello, head of Vittal, who always recommends courses with professionals and institutions with proven track record. "There are those who watch a CPR video on YouTube and believe they know the technique and it is not like that," he warns.

An instructor arrives with all the materials (notebook, cannon to project images and dolls) and dictates the course for the whole family group, including children. "Today in medicine it is discussed from what age one can receive training in first aid and CPR. I would say that knowledge can be transmitted at any age. A 9 year old child may not have the necessary strength to do cardiac compressions, but yes, the ability to transmit it, so it is important that they also participate in the workshops, says Cappiello.

Zonis agrees: "To be able to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation, you need to have some strength and studies show that only after 12 years 20% of children could approach the necessary strength and only at 14 years 50% approach to that of an adult to perform the resuscitation maneuvers – the specialist warns -. Having said that, the activation of an emergency service can be carried out by a small boy quietly and many times if there is only one adult in the presence of a boy and it breaks down, it is the child who is going to have to call the emergency service. That can be done from a very young age so it seems important to tell them how to act in an emergency. "

But for Zonis, one of the most important advantages is to train them in citizen responsibility. "If one is instilling these concepts of helping, adapted to the maturational development of each age, it forms a social responsibility. How to activate an emergency service or where to place the hands to make resuscitation, promotes that the child is incorporating the information as it goes growing, as something natural, and over time will improve that skill and doing things with the optimal strength, "says the specialist and adds that all the techniques taught in CPR and first aid courses are designed so that Anyone can do them.

Self Defense

Undoubtedly, another of the most frequent fears of every father is that his son is a victim of some fact of insecurity or of acts against sexual integrity. In this sense, Eastern disciplines, as well as specific self-defense techniques, are also on the rise. Always emphasizing is about defending against an attack and not attacking, Krav Maga, an Israeli technique, has become popular in Europe (not without controversy) in a method of defense for children suffering from bullying. In Argentina it is also present, with associations and institutes that teach it, although they are not aimed at children (women who seek to feel protected).

In any case, what many children and teenagers currently practice are martial arts as a sports practice. But some parents, in addition to highlighting the issue of physical activity, welcome their son or daughter to have tools to defend themselves if necessary.


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The parents of Santiago Barbera are reassured that their son has defense tools Source: LA NACION – Credit: Fabián Marelli

Rubén Barbera, Santiago's 14-year-old father, tells for example that his son started doing taekwondo for a social issue, to add friends. "He does not do it to defend himself, but because he likes it more and more. But one as an adult celebrates it because today everything is a little difficult," he acknowledges. "As parents it brings us a lot of peace because it receives teachings of defense and also of discipline. In these times it is very necessary that they learn those things that build it inside and out. "

Beyond the motivations behind these courses, Goldberg argues that control over critical situations gives parents safety. "The workshops that teach you to save yourself and take care of yourself allow you to feel that you can do something," he says. "It is a variable that can be controlled among a lot of others that are not. One is certain that if necessary, one can act, and that in the midst of so much uncertainty, it generates a bit of tranquility. "

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