Updated 05 March 2014

13 danger zones in your life

Danger could be lurking while you're in these places, or doing these things. Watch out and be alert so you don't get hurt.

Accidents and other unfortunate things happen, but many of them can be avoided if you are alert and keep the possibilities of danger in mind. There are specific zones, or times, when you are more at risk. Most of these also apply to guys.

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 screaming, either stop the car if you can and sort it out, or carry on driving if you are not far from your destination. Just remember that a child will be far more traumatised by an accident than by three minutes of crying while strapped into the car seat.

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.

Read more: How to prevent being hijacked

The kitchen. Not only are there hot surfaces, and boiling liquids here, but also sharp knives. No wonder the kitchen is a problem area. Be constantly aware of the danger – also for your children. Here's more on first aid for burns.

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 any 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, and always make safe sex a priority.

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 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 don't go to dark ATMs in deserted areas. Don't talk to strangers in the queue.

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 has 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. Exactly the same goes for men in abusive relationships - and yes, they are in great danger too.

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.

Read more on healthy eating.

- (Susan Erasmus)


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