Reckless driving, criminals, freak waves - we all know where danger lurks. But there are more injuries as a result of accidents than through agression, so it's as well to wise up to your most dangerous times and places. Watch out for the following 13 things.
Driving with toddlers. A screaming toddler in a car can very easily distract the driver's attention. A second with one's eyes off the road could lead to an accident – all you need is the car in front of you to brake sharply, and into it you go. If your child is distressed, either stop the car if you can and sort it out, or carry on driving if you are not far from your destination.
Leaving and entering your home. If you are laden with parcels, or files from work, or if you are scrounging in your bag to find your keys, you are an ideal target for muggers or hijackers. Never walk out the door without checking who is in the street first. By the same token, don't enter your home if there are strangers in the street – drive round the block first. Don't enter your home if anything looks suspicious.
The kitchen. There are hot surfaces, boiling liquids and sharp knives here. No wonder the kitchen is a problem area. Be constantly aware of the danger – also to your children.
Addictions. Too much alcohol, drugs, cigarettes and even gambling can have far-reaching consequences on your mental, physical and financial state. Remember, strong people go for help – join a support group or see a counsellor if you need help with an addiction.
Loading up your car. Many people have been mugged while loading groceries or other goods into the car. For that time, your attention is away from your wallet and your keys. Take care not to be distracted.
Unsafe sex. It is quite staggering how many people still have sex without a condom. Right, the reality is that people do have sex, often with people they don't know well, but using a condom will prevent the transmission of HIV as well as many other STDs. Be alert, be alive.
Traffic lights. When sandwiched in between other cars at an intersection, you are an ideal target for smash-and-grab incidents. Keep all valuables out of sight and keep your windows closed and doors locked.
Fireplaces and heaters. Many children and adults have burnt themselves badly on either of these two. Wood falling out of open fires pose a real danger, as do direct heat from bar heaters. Screens in front of fire places are essential. Fan heaters or oil heaters are a lot less dangerous than some of the other types.
The bathroom. The bathroom can be a slippery place and if you are dripping wet, it is easy to slip on the bathroom floor. Bone fractures can easily happen here. A non-slip bathmat is an essential in every home.
Drawing money. Whenever you draw money, whether at an ATM or in a bank, be alert to people who could be watching you. Many people who have been robbed, have either been distracted at an ATM or followed home after withdrawing large sums of cash. Vary your routine and never even consider dark ATMs in deserted areas - even if you have someone with you. Rather go to the ones located inside shops. Never talk to strangers in the queue. Even at safe ATMs be on the lookout for card switchers.
Abusive relationships. Many more women are assaulted or killed by spouses than by strangers. If your partner is physically abusing you, get out while you can. Remember it is nothing you have done that brings this on – he probably had a history of abusive relationships long before you were ever around. Don't listen to excuses. When it happens the first time, pack your bags and go.
Bedside tables. Guns should not be kept in bedside tables where children can get hold of them. Medication should also be removed from here, as it is easily accessible.
Unhealthy eating. Living on takeaways, chips and chocolates is a great temptation if you have a very demanding job and little time for cooking. This can lead to all sorts of health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Good planning is required in this regard. Cooking in bulk and freezing portions could be a solution.
24 no-go zones for women
(Susan Erasmus, Health 24, updated September 2012)