In a city which seems to have everything we need in life, it's easy for busy moms and dads to take some skills for granted, not realizing that such skills could spell the difference between life and death in an emergency. Despite the presence of trained authorities, it's still a good idea to seek ways to ensure the safety of our families. ‘At my age?,” you say. Absolutely! Here are a few skills that are never too late to learn, both for yourself and for your loved ones:
Survival Skill #1: Swimming Why it’s important: Kids are to swimming pools what moths are to flame. Playing in the water is second nature to them; after all, they lived in a big water bath inside you for nine months! Floating devices are not 100% effective, and they are certainly no substitute for a watchful eye. Besides, children aren't always keen on wearing such devices, particularly if they see other kids their age not wearing them. According to the World Health Organization, drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury / death worldwide, with an estimated 388,000 cases annually.
Real mom says: “It never bothered me that I didn't know how to swim, until my kids came along. Even though I have help to watch them, I still didn't feel quite at ease letting them be near a pool or the beach. But I realized I didn't want to deprive them of that experience because of my inability to swim, so I decided to take a course on swimming. I was intimidated and a bit embarrassed because I felt so old taking the class, but I just reminded myself of why I was doing it. Now, I can let them roam free in the water, and I can also join in on the fun!” - Mina Santos, 33, mom to Julia, age 5, and Logan, age 8
Where to enroll: Aqualogic Swim Co. holds classes in Makati and Ortigas area, and offers private lessons to residents of Ayala, Alabang. Parents and children 13 and up can take lessons via their AquaTech program, while kids can learn how to swim via AquaBabes (3-36 months) or AquaKids (3-12 years old). You can also hold private swim parties. Programs are typically eight lessons at one hour each, (AquaBabes sessions are more or less 30 minutes), once or twice a week. Fees: AquaTech program - P7,895; AquaKids program - P6,695 and up; AquaBabes program - P5,995. Contact Ria Mackay at +(632) 703-6386 or visit www.aqualogicswimco.com.
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Survival Skill #2: Driving Why it’s important: Not having a car is difficult enough, moreso not knowing how to drive. We've all heard horror stories of drivers having heart attacks while they're on the road. If you were the passenger, would you know how to take the wheel in order to avoid an accident? What if you had to rush your child to the hospital, and it's a rainy Friday night in the metro - how fast do you think you can find a taxi if your driver is not available? Remember, in emergency situations, especially a medical emergency, you are racing against time - something you don't have control of if you must rely on someone else to decide where to go, what route to take, and most importantly, how fast you need to get there.
Real mom says: “I used to drive in my home province of Ilocos, but I've always been intimidated to drive in Manila. So whenever I was outside [of Ilocos], I just took taxis everywhere. Then one day, when my newborn had a high-grade fever (I was living in Manila that time), I had to rush him to the hospital, but it just so happened that there was a music concert nearby and taxis were scarce. Every second I had to wait seemed like an eternity, and it was that moment that I decided to take up driving and bring my car down from Baguio. I never want to feel helpless again when it comes to my kids, and learning to drive (at least in a different environment) gave me that power.” - Trisha Mejares, 31, mom to Paulino, age 4
Where to enroll: Smart Driving School has 26 branches nationwide, and offers different courses for beginners and experienced drivers alike. They have free student assessments, driving orientations, and licensing assistance, and you even get to choose what car you want to train with (fees vary). Beginner's courses range from 10-15 total hours, while refresher courses range from 5-7 hours total. Schedules are quite flexible, so you can choose to do either 1-hour, 2-hour, or even 8-hour sessions. Prices start at P2,200 (5-hour total program, with 1-hour per day sessions ). To inquire about enrollment, call the Customer Care Hotline at +63928-5057056, or visit www.smartdrivingph.com.
Tip: Having reliable tires in your car are just as important as knowing how to drive. Goodyear recently launched the Assurance Triple Max with Hydrogrip technology that promises maximum wet grip (for wet roads), improved rubber contact with the road for maximum control, and maximum braking ability for extra security. For more info, visit www.goodyear.com.