Healthy Kids     Party Guide    

Host your own CPR party!

Learn life-saving basics in your living room

Sure, you’ve heard of Tupperware parties, Mary Kay parties and Pampered Chef parties, but did you know you could host your own CPR party right in your living room?

The CLAY Foundation (which stands for C-CPR, L – learn to float first, A – automated external defibrillator awareness, and Y – year round, warm-water swim facilities) offers free, in-home CPR parties for anyone willing to host.

Since summer is here and many of us have pools in our backyards or live in close proximity to water, I recently decided to host my own CPR party and invited some of my friends over to join in.

READ MORE: How water smart is your child?

The course offered is a one-hour CPR short program designed to give parents and caregivers a general idea of what to do before the emergency response team arrives. This is not a certification program. To get officially certified in CPR, you should contact your local Red Cross.

The program is free of charge, although they do ask for a suggested donation of $35 per person, which helps to pay the instructors.

The CLAY Foundation was started by a mom, Laura Metro. Three years ago, her 3-year-old son Clay had an accident in a pool. Friends were watching the kids and when Laura returned, she found their son lying on the pool deck, blue and lifeless.

A friend started CPR but was not formally trained in CPR. The paramedics came, intubated him on the spot and flew them to the hospital. Clay made a full and miraculous recovery. “The doctors really attributed his life to the bystanders’ CPR,” says Metro.

Ever since then, Metro has been determined to teach everyone CPR. She asked herself: “How do I make this easier for moms to get this done?”

Most CPR courses are at least 4 hours and cost a lot of money. Many parents are busy and don’t have the time or money to get CPR certified. That is when she came up with the idea for CPR parties. They offer a basic course in CPR, offered in the party style format that we are all familiar with, and are training people nationwide.

Even though it is not a certification course, it still is valuable information. When asked about her goals for CLAY, Metro says, “I don’t want anyone to have to take the helicopter ride I took. We are looking for a sponsor to help us get to the national level.”

READ MORE: Swimming lessons are a must!

So how do I host a CPR party?

My first step was to contact CLAY through their website, I then received an automated email that explains what to do next. If hosting a CPR party is what you are interested in, the email will tell you to fill out a form with your information. Approximately 48 hours later, I was contacted by a local instructor. We decided on a date and time and it was done. It’s just that easy!

What happens at a CPR party?

Our instructor, Rob Kutler, arrived with his bags of CPR dolls and other materials. As everyone arrived, they signed in and I collected donations for Rob. Our party started with a short infant CPR video. The video lasted about 20 minutes and demonstrated what to do if an infant is choking or is not breathing and CPR is needed. We then all had turns practicing on infant CPR dolls.

Then Rob discussed the difference between adult CPR and choking. He demonstrated on the adult CPR doll and then we all took turns practicing CPR and the Heimlich maneuver on the adult CPR doll.

When everyone was finished practicing, Rob answered all of our questions and re-explained or demonstrated anything we did not fully understand.

The party lasted about an hour and a half. It was a lot of fun and very informative. Everyone walked away learning something new. “I feel like I learned just as much in that hour and a half, as I did in the 4 hour re-certification course!” said one of my guests, Willow Shamson of Kerhonkson.

READ MORE: Is your home safe?

Who should attend a CPR party?

Anyone who would like to learn the basic life support known as CPR. Although these parties were designed in response to a child drowning, both infant/child and adult CPR are taught. You never know when there will be an emergency — whether it’s with your daughter, your husband, a student or fellow teammate.

Those first few minutes before emergency responders arrive can be critical and mean the difference between life and death. By learning basic CPR, you could help save a life. Even if you are not certified, knowing the basics can be critical.

“The only thing you can do wrong, is to not do anything at all,” says Metro.

It only takes a second for a tragedy to occur. A CPR party just might be the most valuable hour of your life.


Kelly Auriemmo is a mom, blogger, and special education teacher who lives in Poughkeepsie.