In 2011, Washington, D.C.-based mom Laura Metro lived every parent's worst nightmare: Her then-3-year-old son Clay nearly drowned in a pool while the family was on vacation in Delaware. Metro says her child was "laying on the pool deck, blue, lifeless, with no breath or heartbeat." A friend performed CPR until the paramedics arrived. And after being medivaced to the hospital, "Clay was in a coma for two days."
The good news is, her son made a miraculous recovery and is now a healthy 8-year-old boy.
But Metro knows what happened to Clay is the exception, not the rule. As she told Parents.com, she also knew that if she didn't do something to ease her newfound "absolute state of panic," she'd never want to let her kids out of the house again. Finally, she admits, she had to come to terms with the fact that she didn't know CPR when she needed it most.
The truth is, most of us don't, although we want to. "Money and time are the main deterrents," Metro says.
That harrowing experience and realization led to Metro's idea for The CPR Party. "Accidents do happen," she told us. "And there's so much we can't control as parents, but [learning CPR] is something we can control."
Here's how it works: You know those home parties you go to where people sell things like jewelry, candles, Tupperware, or makeup? Well The CPR Party uses the same format, but in this case, attendees learn a life-saving skill from a certified instructor/trainer from the nonprofit's national partner, Rescue 1.
Of course, the topic is not as light as jewelry or makeup. But as Metro explained, these parties—which are available across the country for 10 people or more—aim to make the information easier to digest.
"The main reaction I always note, is [that participants] get really into it, and they are so glad they did it," Metro told us, adding, "When you leave, you're going to know what to do."
To host a party, you are asked for a minimum $300 donation, but Metro stresses that if this is not possible, the organization will make sure to work with potential hosts. "We never want money to be deterrent," she says. Instead, these parties are intended to empower people, Metro told us, stressing that the more people who learn CPR, the more money the entire country can save.
Consider that the total cost of non-fatal drowning is $6.2 billion annually, and kids ages 4 and under account for $3.8 billion, or 61 percent, of these costs. Drowning is also the No. 1 one killer of children ages 1 to 4. So it makes sense that every parent should get trained in CPR, learn how to use an AED (automated external defibrillator), and be more prepared for an emergency situation if, God forbid, it happens.
"We can learn these life-saving skills," Metro encourages parents.
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and soon-to-be mom of 4. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of yoga.