Families urge CPR training after 2 children survive near-drownings

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A couple of families are stressing the importance of CPR training after it helped save two Minnesota children from drowning.

Sarah Matteson, 15, of Chaska learned CPR in her eighth grade class and used those skills to save her younger sister's life when her family was at a South Dakota hotel pool, FOX 9 reports.

Without thinking, Matteson dove into the pool and scooped her 8-year-old sister, Leah, from the bottom.

"I thought she was dead because she was purple and cold," Matteson told FOX 9. "It was very scary."

Sarah performed CPR, and Leah is now doing fine.

"Anything can happen – freak accident just like my sister," Sarah Matteson told FOX 9. "I think everyone should know what they're doing."

A similar incident happened to another Minnesota family recently.

Last weekend, the family's 5-year-old son was pulled from the bottom of a Rochester hotel pool and given CPR, FOX 9 reported.

The rescuers did a combination of compressions and respirations after pulling the boy from the pool. He eventually coughed up water and started breathing on his own, FOX 9 says.

The boy is doing fine. His family – and his rescuers – credit CPR training for saving the boy's life.

Statistics show that the earlier CPR is performed, the greater chance of survival there is, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. There are an average of 3,533 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States, according to the CDC. The organization didn't provide a report on how many of those victims had CPR performed on them in a timely manner.

The American Heart Association says 70 percent of Americans don't have the proper training.

Soon, more students in Minnesota will. A state law that goes into effect for the 2014-15 school year will require all school districts teach CPR to students in seventh through 12th grade.

Become Educated in CPR says 100,000-200,000 lives of adults and children could be saved each year if CPR was performed early enough.

In a study that looked at 90 near-drowning cases between 1999 and 2004, where a bystander performed CPR after a person was removed from the water, 82 people survived, according to the International Rafting Federation. The study concluded that in drowning cases when CPR is performed, there's a 91 percent survival rate.

There are some who dispute CPR's effectiveness, however. Read more in a 2013 report by CNN.

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