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"Hero" teens steer bus to safety after driver has a heart attack

<p>Two teenagers have worked together to steer a school bus to safety after the driver had a heart attack. </p> <p>The pair were among 20 other students from Aquinas College, who were on board the bus yesterday afternoon when the 70-year-old driver had the medical episode. </p> <p>A 15-year-old girl, not yet old enough to drive, and Daniel Knight, a year 12 student sprung to action to stop the bus. </p> <p>"We were only going like five [kilometres an hour], 10 k's, so I was like I better just stop the bus before it gets any worse," Knight said. </p> <p>"She opened the door up, she was calming everyone down."</p> <p>Bennet Rogers, a student on the bus  recalled the moment the incident happened. </p> <p>"Us students on the bus, we didn't know what was happening and everyone was screaming," Rogers said. </p> <p>"She had to steer the bus so we didn't crash into a building," he added. </p> <p>Knight and the 15-year-old girl's actions have been commended by the school in a letter to their parents. </p> <p>The bus driver remains in hospital and is recovering from surgery, and the principal has said that there would be an investigation into what happened. </p> <p>Many are calling for the teen girl to be recognised with a bravery award, with Queensland Premier Steven Miles telling <em>Nine News</em> he would personally nominate her. </p> <p>"She's a hero for that, definitely," another fellow student, Brodie Wilkinson, said.</p> <p>"I really hope she gets an award or something."</p> <p><em>Image: Nine News</em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p>

Travel Trouble

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Emirates takes cheeky swipe at other airlines in new safety video

<p dir="ltr">Emirates have taken a cheeky swipe at Qantas, Air New Zealand and British Airways with their new “no nonsense” in-flight safety video. </p> <p dir="ltr">The Dubai-based airline took a different approach to other major airlines, saying they chose not to include dancers and singers for its in-flight entertainment because they “take your safety seriously”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Hello and welcome on board your Emirates flight today,” a flight attendant says at the start of the four minute video.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is your no-nonsense safety video. We do not have dancers breaking into song, characters from movies, or celebrities trying to be funny I’m afraid.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Another cabin crew member then chips in, “But at Emirates, safety always comes first. So it’s important that we take you through some safety features before takeoff. And then you can all get back to our award-winning entertainment system.”</p> <p><iframe title="YouTube video player" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MCW5kH1G_1Y?si=IgvSjvOEa-n_f01v" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p dir="ltr">The decision to stick to the basics for such an important video has been praised online, with many comparing the video to others by competing airlines. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Excellent video. No fuss, no faff, just informative and not distracting. These videos are about safety first and foremost, not entertainment,” wrote one fan.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Emirates got it right. This is THE safety video, simple and comprehensive which it should be,” agreed another.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This video is sending a message to other airlines,” stated a third.</p> <p dir="ltr">Emirates has gone in the opposite direction to its Aussie partner <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/travel/travel-trouble/disappointing-new-inflight-qantas-video-slammed-for-missing-the-mark">Qantas</a>, as a safety video from the Flying Kangaroo went viral earlier this year for all the wrong reasons. </p> <p dir="ltr">The video was widely panned for being “elitist” and “sexist”, while skimming over vital safety information, as one person on social media wrote, “I’d prefer just focus on, oh I dunno, in flight safety during the in-flight safety video? “Why do we need a long video with all this added stuff?”</p> <p dir="ltr">The video, which replaced an earlier retro video released in 2020 that marked the airline’s 100th birthday, features frequent flyers and Qantas staff delivering the pre-flight safety announcement from their favourite “magic places” around the world. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Emirates</em></p>

International Travel

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Cancer-causing chemicals found in Aussie tap water sparks safety concerns

<p>A landmark ruling in the US has sparked safety concerns over Australian tap water, with many wondering if it is safe to drink. </p> <p>After the US tightened their regulations around drinking tap water, cutting the maximum level of cancer-causing so-called “forever chemicals” allowed, experts have urged Australia to do the same. </p> <p>Earlier this year, the US Environmental Protection Agency found there was “no safe level of exposure” of the chemicals perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in drinking water and they were likely to cause cancer.</p> <p>The toxic substances have also been linked to kidney and liver disease, thyroid dysregulation, reproductive problems, and developmental problems.</p> <p>According to a federally funded University of Queensland study published in 2011, Australia permits per-and-poly-fluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances at levels up to 140 times higher than those allowed in the US.</p> <p>Health Minister Mark Butler has asked key political players, including Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly, for an urgent briefing following the US developments.</p> <p>The National Health and Medical Research Council, which shapes the nation’s water rules, is reviewing its guidelines relating to the chemicals, and that could be expedited ahead of its 2025 end date.</p> <p>“Australian drinking water is regularly monitored for the presence of chemicals, including PFAS, to ensure those are within the limits assessed as safe by Australian regulators,” a spokesperson for the Health Minister said.</p> <p>“This independent review will consider recent guidance and reviews from international and national jurisdictions and determine whether they are suitable to adopt or adapt for Australia.”</p> <p>Nicholas Chartres, a senior research fellow at the University of Sydney, called for a precautionary approach and immediate widespread testing of the nation’s water supplies.</p> <p>“The government needs to take action. They need to be testing the water (and) it will come at a cost,” he said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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New details on man killed by snake at childcare centre

<p>A childcare centre in Queensland, where father-of-three suffered a <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/dad-dies-after-being-bitten-by-deadly-snake-in-child-care-centre" target="_blank" rel="noopener">fatal snake bite</a>, is under investigation by workplace safety officials. </p> <p>Jerromy Brookes, 47, was bitten multiple times on his arm while attempting to remove a snake from the premises on Tuesday afternoon. He was not a qualified snake catcher, and tragically passed away in Townsville Hospital after going into cardiac arrest at his home in Deeragun. </p> <p>“Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) is investigating an incident that occurred at a business in Townsville,” a spokesperson told 7News. </p> <p>“As this is a current investigation, WHSQ is not able to provide further information at this time.”</p> <p>WHSQ has the power to prosecute allegations of workplace safety breaches. </p> <p>Brooke is survived by his wife and three children. </p> <p>His wife was the person who called emergency services and provided first aid when Brookes began showing symptoms at home. </p> <p>A family friend has paid tribute to the fallen father saying: “Jerromy was helping remove a snake from another childcare centre in Townsville when the incident occurred." </p> <p>“He was doing his very best to keep the children safe.”</p> <p>It was believed that Brookes was trying to remove an eastern brown snake, one of the deadliest in the world, however the species has not been officially confirmed. </p> <p>Police are reportedly not investigating the incident as a criminal matter, but are working to provide a report for the coroner. </p> <p><em>Images: Facebook</em></p>

Caring

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Accused mushroom killer moved to protected unit over safety fears

<p>Erin Patterson, accused of poisoning three elderly individuals and attempting to murder several others, finds herself secluded within the confines of a protected unit in a Victorian prison. The move, reportedly necessitated by safety concerns, places Patterson away from the general prison population, reflecting the gravity of the allegations against her.</p> <p>According to sources cited by <a href="https://www.heraldsun.com.au/truecrimeaustralia/the-mushroom-ccok/accused-mushroom-murderer-in-jail-unit-with-pedophile-rapist/news-story/824c4f35c9d9b8f7553af2704836ea82" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the Herald Sun</a>, Patterson now resides in the protected wing of the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre, a correctional facility in Victoria. The decision to relocate her stems from fears that she may face harm from fellow inmates due to the nature of her alleged crimes.</p> <p>The <em>Herald's</em> insider disclosed, "If Erin got out of protection, the girls would hurt her."</p> <p>Allegations of her involvement in the deaths of three elderly individuals have evidently rendered her a target among fellow inmates, necessitating stringent security measures.</p> <p>“She allegedly killed three elderly people," the source continued. “There’s a rule, you don’t touch the elderly and you don’t touch babies so because of that, you go into protection."</p> <p>Patterson stands accused of several crimes, including the murder of her former in-laws, Don and Gail Patterson, alongside Gail's sister Heather Wilkinson. Their deaths, following the consumption of a meal containing deadly mushrooms at Patterson's residence in Leongatha, shook the community.</p> <p>Furthermore, Patterson faces charges of attempted murder, notably targeting her ex-husband Simon and Heather Wilkinson's husband Ian, with the alleged attempts spanning over various dates.</p> <p>As Patterson awaits her court appearance scheduled for May, the case continues to captivate public attention. In the coming months, the court will delve deeper into the intricacies of the case, striving to uncover the truth behind the allegations.</p> <p><em>Image: News.com.au</em></p>

Legal

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"Lincoln's Law": Grandma's important safety crusade after tragic loss

<p>The tragic loss of three-year-old Lincoln in September 2020 has sparked a passionate plea for immediate changes to safety standards in rental properties across Australia.</p> <p>Lincoln's grandmother, Kerrie Shearer, has been relentless in her pursuit of ensuring that no other family suffers the heartache they have endured.</p> <p>Lincoln's untimely death occurred when he became entangled in a blind cord while innocently playing on a windowsill at his Melbourne home. Despite the family's vigilance, the accident claimed the life of their beloved Lincoln, leaving them shattered and grief-stricken. Now, Shearer is determined to turn her pain into action by advocating for legislative changes to prevent similar tragedies.</p> <p>As a renter, Lincoln's family had little control over the safety features of their dwelling. They are now calling for new laws mandating older rental homes to comply with modern blind safety standards. Shearer says that the need to address loose hanging blinds is crucial, labelling them as potential accidents waiting to happen. By campaigning for legislative reforms, she hopes to spare other families from experiencing the same devastation.</p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">While guidelines stipulate that window furnishings in homes built after 2010 must adhere to strict safety measures, there are no such regulations for older properties. Shearer finds it astonishing that many people remain unaware of the dangers posed by unsecured blind cords. She recounts her experiences of visiting various accommodations, including Airbnbs and hotels, where she noticed inadequate safety measures and felt compelled to alert the hosts.</span></p> <p>"I'm constantly amazed how people aren't aware," she told <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/victoria-news-grandmother-warns-of-blind-safety-risk-after-grandson-dies/83accc08-8cf2-463a-8cc7-6f87fa905a5b" target="_blank" rel="noopener">9News</a>. "I go to AirBnBs and hotels now and I'm at them, 'Hey your blinds aren't attached to the wall.'"</p> <p>Shearer's advocacy has gained momentum via her collaboration with Kidsafe, a prominent nonprofit organisation dedicated to preventing unintentional injuries and deaths among children. Together, they aim to broaden safety requirements for older homes, advocating for what Shearer passionately refers to as "Lincoln's law". She insists that any looped or hanging cords present a significant danger to children and must be securely affixed to the wall to prevent entanglement accidents.</p> <p>The impact of Shearer's tireless efforts is already evident, with reports indicating that the state government is considering the introduction of mandatory blind cord safety standards for all rental properties, regardless of their age. This potential development marks a significant step towards ensuring the safety and well-being of children in rental accommodations across the country.</p> <p>In the wake of her family's tragedy, Shearer's determination to effect change not only honours the memory of Lincoln but also holds the potential to prevent countless other families from enduring similar heartbreak – ensuring that his tragic passing was not in vain.</p> <p><em>Images: 9News</em></p>

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“Disappointing”: New inflight Qantas video slammed for “missing the mark”

<p dir="ltr">A new inflight safety video from Qantas has been widely panned for being “elitist” and “sexist”, while skimming over vital safety information. </p> <p dir="ltr">The new video, which is set to replace an earlier retro video released in 2020 that marked the airline’s 100th birthday, features frequent flyers and Qantas staff delivering the pre-flight safety announcement from their favourite “magic places” around the world. </p> <p dir="ltr">The video features destinations such as Litchfield National Park near Darwin and Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia, as well as international places such as Lapland in Finland and Marrakesh in Morocco.</p> <p dir="ltr">After the video was shared by the airline, members of the Flight Attendants Association of Australia were quick to express their feelings. </p> <p dir="ltr">Flight Attendants Association of Australia national secretary Teri O-Toole told <em><a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/health-safety/new-qantas-safety-video-panned-as-sexist-and-elitist/news-story/078aa2c55cf48e6551a40ad4c0c56011">news.com.au</a></em> the video was “disappointing” for a lot of different reasons. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C2dPrw_BNqf/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C2dPrw_BNqf/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Qantas (@qantas)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">“Not one Australian-based international crew member was used,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“There are no cabin crew in uniform and there are no shots of the interior of an aircraft which are all important factors for non-English speaking passengers and those that need to know who is in charge.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Not once does it say ‘follow the directions of your crew member’, which you would’ve thought would be the focus of a safety video.”</p> <p dir="ltr">She also questioned why a female pilot appeared in a swimsuit, suggesting that sort of depiction took women in the workplace took the airline “back 20 years”</p> <p dir="ltr">“I didn’t see a male pilot in a pair of budgie smugglers,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">She went on to describe the video as “great marketing”, but totally “misses the mark” in terms of a safety video, while also adding “elitist” to focus on frequent flyers during a cost of living crisis.</p> <p dir="ltr">Social media users were equally scathing.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I’d prefer just focus on, oh I dunno, in flight safety during the in-flight safety video?,” one wrote. “Why do we need a long video with all this added stuff?”</p> <p dir="ltr">Another described it as “slow, long, tedious and boring. I couldn't make it through the entire thing”, while a third person labelled it “absolutely awful”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Qantas chief customer officer Catriona Larritt defended the video insisting safety was the number one priority across the Qantas Group, and the in-flight video together with cabin crew, plays a key role in capturing the attention of travellers to watch and listen to the critical information.</p> <p dir="ltr">“First and foremost, the video is about familiarising our customers with safety procedures and we try to make it as engaging as possible, in particular for regular flyers who might otherwise tune out,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Qantas</em></p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-d006e7c7-7fff-7037-252e-b0c227e24116"></span></p>

Travel Trouble

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"Each bauble represents a life lost": Haunting Christmas tree sends powerful message

<p>As the holiday season approaches, a haunting symbol of despair has once again taken root at Victoria Police headquarters – carrying with it a message of melancholy that we are unaccustomed to at this normally festive time of year.</p> <p>Instead of joyous ornaments and twinkling lights, a Christmas tree adorned with glistening blue baubles now stands as a remarkably poignant testament to the road death carnage that has befallen the state throughout 2023.</p> <p>These beautiful baubles, each etched with the name and age of those lost on Victoria's roads this year, tell a grim tale of grief and loss. With the toll reaching 274 by December 6, it marks the darkest year for the state since 2008.</p> <p>In a moving video accompanying the dressing of the tree, Road Policing Assistant Commissioner Glenn Weir implored the public to drive cautiously during the Christmas period, desperately hoping to prevent the addition of any more baubles to this sorrowful tree.</p> <p>"This Christmas tree is unlike any other; it's one we don't want to see decorated," Commissioner Weir soberly explained. "Each bauble represents a life lost, a stark reminder of the importance of road safety. Please, drive safely this festive period. Take care, have conversations with your loved ones, and remember the responsibility you bear when behind the wheel."</p> <p>November alone witnessed the loss of 35 lives on Victorian roads, marking it as the worst month this year. In response, the police are intensifying road policing operations throughout December in an attempt to curb further tragedies.</p> <p>In a bid to address the escalating death toll, the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) has launched the initiative "Stop kidding yourself. If you drink, don't drive," running from December 4 to the end of January.</p> <p>Shockingly, it has also been revealed that one in five individuals killed on Victorian roads had a blood alcohol concentration of .05 or higher.</p> <p>TAC CEO Tracey Slatter also called on the urgent need for a cultural shift, challenging the notion that driving after consuming any amount of alcohol should be deemed "normal".</p> <p>"Many people think they can manage their blood-alcohol level with vague rules handed down through generations," she said. "But the only way to avoid the risk entirely is to completely separate drinking and driving."</p> <p>As the Christmas tree of remembrance continues to grow with each passing day, it stands as a poignant symbol of the lives lost on Victoria's roads, imploring society to reflect, change and prioritise the safety of every journey.</p> <p><em>Images: Victoria Police</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Qantas found guilty of firing health worker during pandemic

<p>Qantas has been found guilty of firing a health and safety officer during the early days of the pandemic, a NSW district court judge has found.</p> <p>The airline dismissed Theo Seremetidis in early 2020 after he expressed concerns about safety protocol for flights arriving from China in the first months of the Covid-19 pandemic. </p> <p>According to SafeWork NSW, Qantas breached part 6 of the Work Health and Safety Act and discriminated against Mr Seremetidis when he was stood down. </p> <p>On Thursday, the court heard elements of the matter brought by SafeWork NSW were established beyond reasonable doubt and Qantas Ground Services is “guilty of the offence charged”.</p> <p>They specifically related to standing down Mr Seremetidis “to his detriment” and the main reason for his dismissal was a prohibited reason, because he had exercised a power as a health and safety representative by directing workers to cease unsafe work.</p> <p>The prosecution was brought about after Mr Seremetidis launched a complaint about his former workplace with the Transport Workers Union (TWU), who took the complaint to SafeWork NSW. </p> <p>Judge David Russell said he accepted SafeWork NSW’s submissions that Qantas Ground Services “actively sidelined” Mr Seremetidis and ignored his concerns. </p> <div>“Firstly … by cutting him off from other staff who were seeking his help,” he said.</p> <p>“And secondly, by standing him down and requiring him to leave the airport forthwith.</p> <p>“I formed the view that he attempted to carry out his duties as a health and safety representative conscientiously and carefully,” he said. </p> <p>TWU President and NSW/Qld Secretary Richard Olsen welcomed the verdict on SafeWork NSW’s primary charge. </p> <p>“This is a fantastic result. Theo is a workplace hero and today he has been vindicated. When the TWU urged SafeWork NSW to prosecute this case, Theo courageously took on one of Australia’s biggest corporate bullies and won,” he said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: TWU</em></p> </div>

Legal

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"This is insane": Woman's intense hotel safety routine divides audiences

<p dir="ltr">A woman has gone viral for the elaborate routine she undergoes every time she checks into a new hotel room. </p> <p dir="ltr">Victoria posted a TikTok of her intense seven-step routine that she undertakes when staying in a hotel, with the video quickly racking up over 14 million views. </p> <p dir="ltr">In the now-viral clip, Victoria starts off by putting the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the doorknob and locking it from the inside.</p> <p dir="ltr">Then, she blocks the peephole with a tissue, jams a washcloth into the deadbolt to "close the gap" and rolls up a bath towel behind the handle to stop anyone opening the door.</p> <p dir="ltr">She also positioned an ironing board against the door to stop it from being able to open, and then used a clothes hanger to clip everything together.</p> <p dir="ltr">After going through the seven step routine, Victoria's comment section was flooded with messages as the video prompted a mixed response. </p> <p dir="ltr">"By the time I do all that, it's morning again," one user wrote, while another simply said, "This is insane."</p> <p dir="ltr">While many of the comments were quick to judge how extensive the safety routine is, others shared their own different security preferences. </p> <p dir="ltr">"I take two portable locks, and a mini camera that links to my phone for when I'm out," one said.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, one person pointed out that Victoria's set-up was a bit of a hazard, saying, "And now imagine trying to get out of that in the dark in a fire in the middle of the night."</p> <p dir="ltr">Another said they had "never stayed in hotels where I felt so unsafe," adding, "Is it an American thing? I am genuinely curious."</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: TikTok</em><span id="docs-internal-guid-7c5325f2-7fff-e317-45e9-c3cf2bb0c143"></span></p>

Travel Trouble

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Are Australia’s roads becoming more dangerous? Here’s what the data says

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mark-stevenson-330220">Mark Stevenson</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jason-thompson-96100">Jason Thompson</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>In 2022, there were nearly <a href="https://www.bitre.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/road_trauma_2022.pdf">1,200 road crash deaths</a> in Australia – a figure that has remained largely the same over the past decade. However, some states and territories have seen dramatic increases in just the last five years, such as the ACT (100%), Tasmania (59.4%) and Queensland (21.2%).</p> <p>Serious injuries from road crashes have also been <a href="https://app.powerbi.com/view?r=eyJrIjoiMGVlZDM0YzQtNWI3Mi00YzAyLWI5YjUtZGQyYzc3YjJmMmY3IiwidCI6ImFhMjFiNjQwLWJhYzItNDU2ZC04NTA1LWYyY2MwN2Y1MTc4NCJ9">on the rise</a>, from 35,000 in 2013 to 39,866 in 2019.</p> <p>These statistics highlight the need for an urgent rethink of road safety policies if we are to achieve Australia’s <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/australias-road-deaths-rise-despite-push-to-halve-fatalities-by-2030/vcl7yj50g">target</a> of a 50% decrease in fatalities and a 30% decrease in serious injuries by 2030. We are clearly not on track to meet these targets.</p> <p>People are worth more than statistics, though. And it is not surprising we haven’t seen decreases in road deaths when we rely on strategies first implemented three to four decades ago. Change is needed to prevent the ongoing trauma caused by road crashes to Australian families.</p> <p><iframe id="DTp1X" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/DTp1X/1/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <h2>Why have road trauma rates not declined?</h2> <p>Australia has long had an international reputation for pioneering road safety measures, such as seat belt restraints, speed management strategies (including speed cameras) and drink-driving laws, among others. In fact, Australia was the <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00137361">first country</a> in the world to introduce laws for compulsory seat belt use.</p> <p>These initiatives have been highly successful in reducing road deaths from their peak in 1970, when <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Previousproducts/1301.0Feature%20Article412001?opendocument&amp;tabname=Summary&amp;prodno=1301.0&amp;issue=2001&amp;num=&amp;view=">3,798</a> were recorded. But in the past two decades, further progress has stalled. We must ask ourselves why.</p> <p>One theory to explain why road deaths may have increased in many states in the past couple of years is the pandemic. The previously empty roads are now congested again, which may have led to impatience and speeding. Or perhaps, some people have seemingly forgotten how to drive safely. However, there is another, perhaps simpler explanation.</p> <p>This chart shows how closely road deaths have tracked with domestic fuel sales in Australia – measured in millions of litres of fuel – since 2019. In simple terms, when driving rates decreased at the beginning of the pandemic, deaths and injuries went down. When driving rates increased again in early 2021, deaths and injuries went up.</p> <p>In fact, there is scant evidence to suggest people’s driving behaviours changed during this time. Our recent unpublished research followed approximately 800 drivers from January 2020 to March 2023 using monitoring systems inside their cars to measure their behaviour. We found no differences in driver behaviours during this time.</p> <p>Rather, there’s a more likely reason why road deaths and injuries continue to be so high: the amount of time we spend driving continues to increase, while our strategies to target the risks associated with driving haven’t changed.</p> <p>Unfortunately, government agencies continue to rely on strategies implemented over the past 20-30 years, which were effective when they were first introduced, but are now subject to the law of diminishing marginal returns. This means continually throwing more resources at existing speed management strategies, for example, will likely only see marginal benefits.</p> <h2>A new approach not focused on cars</h2> <p>There is increasing urgency to investigate and implement new road safety strategies based on emerging technologies and a redesign of our cities instead.</p> <p>For example, a <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0001457521003092">recent Australian trial</a> using new driving monitoring technology showed promise in reducing risky driving behaviours that could cause crashes. The monitoring systems provided feedback to the driver (via a smartphone app) and encouraged safer driving using financial incentives akin to insurance premiums. This new strategy is being explored further in three states: New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia.</p> <p>Encouraging people to transition from private car trips to public transport is another road safety strategy that has seldom been considered by governments. Rather, the driver, car and road remain the focus.</p> <p>This <a href="https://www.roadsafety.gov.au/nrss/fact-sheets/vision-zero-safe-system">“safe system” approach</a> puts an emphasis on building safe road infrastructure for cars, while ignoring urban design changes that de-emphasise the need for cars. We should be encouraging more people to commute by rail, tram and bus (all lower-risk modes per kilometre travelled), while at the same time delivering safe infrastructure for sustainable transport such as bicycles/e-bicycles or walking.</p> <p>If we continue to tinker with strategies implemented many decades ago, we will never get close to achieving the lofty government targets on road deaths and injuries by 2030.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/213240/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mark-stevenson-330220"><em>Mark Stevenson</em></a><em>, Professor of Urban Transport and Public Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jason-thompson-96100">Jason Thompson</a>, Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine and Melbourne School of Design, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/are-australias-roads-becoming-more-dangerous-heres-what-the-data-says-213240">original article</a>.</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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10 driving tips to stay safe in wet weather

<p><strong>Driving in the rain? Follow these tips for safe driving in wet weather </strong></p> <p>This should go without saying, but reducing your speed – as long as you continue to keep with the flow of traffic, of course – is imperative when driving in the rain.</p> <p>After all, between the downpour and spray from other vehicles, heavy rain reduces visibility in all directions, and you need more time to react.</p> <p><strong>Keep your distance </strong></p> <p>Driving in the rain can be hazardous, and if ever there is an incident that requires you – or the driver in front you – to brake unexpectedly, you’ll want to have ample stopping distance on wet roads.</p> <p><strong>Avoid heavy breaking </strong></p> <p>While driving in the rain, you may find yourself in situations – whether you’re hydroplaning or finding yourself in a skid – that will tempt you to hit the brakes abruptly. Do your best to curb that impulse.</p> <p>Brakes can be affected greatly by water, losing a bit of their power when wet, which can be disastrous in an emergency. Easing off the brakes, slowing down and maintaining control of your vehicle is your best bet.</p> <p><strong>Keep both hands on the wheel </strong></p> <p>Control is of utmost importance when driving in the rain. After all, you need to be in command of your vehicle should an incident occur, and having both hands on the wheel while driving in the rain (no snacking or fiddling with the radio!) will ensure you can get out of a sticky situation quickly and efficiently.</p> <p><strong>Keep windows from fogging up</strong></p> <p>When driving in rain, windows tend to fog up as a result of the difference in temperatures inside and outside the car and can lead to decreased visibility. To stay safe and avoid accidents, simply press your car’s defrost button to clear-up the window.</p> <p>Turn on your A/C or roll down the windows by a couple of centimetres to remove the humidity from the vehicle and lower the temperature inside the car. If the issue persists, you may want to purchase a windshield cleaner and defogger.</p> <p><strong>Beware of hydroplaning </strong></p> <p>Hydroplaning happens when your car travels above the water without touching the ground. Given that a driver is left with little-to-no grip with the road and, thus, less control, this can be a dangerous set of circumstances. If you find yourself in such a situation, stay calm, ease off the brakes and do not turn your steering wheel; let your car slow down and the tires reattach to the road surface.</p> <p><strong>Avoid puddles</strong></p> <p>Windshield wipers should always be in working condition. Be vigilant about replacing them once per year, or whenever they start to leave streaks on the glass. Having wipers blades in tip-top shape ensures the best possible visibility when driving in the rain.</p> <p><strong>Stay home if you can </strong></p> <p>If you have no choice but to head outside during a heavy downpour, be sure to follow these driving tips. However, if you don’t have anywhere pressing to be, consider staying home and waiting it out until the storm subsides.</p> <p><strong>Keep your headlights on</strong></p> <p>With wet weather often comes fog and overall gloominess. With your surroundings slightly darkened, turning on your headlights ensures that you can see the road in front of you, and that other drivers can see you.</p> <p><strong>Ensure windshield wipers are in working order</strong></p> <p>Windshield wipers should always be in working condition. Be vigilant about replacing them once per year, or whenever they start to leave streaks on the glass. Having wipers blades in tip-top shape ensures the best possible visibility when driving in the rain.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/10-driving-tips-to-stay-safe-in-wet-weather" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Travel Tips

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Never do this during a thunderstorm

<p><strong>Take a shower</strong></p> <p>In the case that lightning strikes your house during a thunderstorm, taking a shower can put you in danger. If your house gets hit by lightning, the bolt can travel through metal water pipes and electrify you in the shower, or even if you wash your hands.</p> <p><strong>Stand under a wooden object</strong></p> <p>Standing under a tree is considered an extremely risky place to be during a thunderstorm. Depending on where you are, trees are likely the tallest object around and will be hit by lightning before you. However, the lightning can jump from the tree to you because humans conduct electricity better than trees. With that said, you should probably avoid standing under or near any other tall wooden objects.</p> <p><strong>Stand in the open</strong></p> <p>Though you might be afraid to stand under a tree when there’s lightning, another thing you should never do during a thunderstorm is stand outside in the open spaces like porches, gazebos, golf courses, and parks. As soon as you notice thunder or lightning, you need to get inside as quickly as possible.</p> <p><strong>Touch concrete structures </strong></p> <p>Concrete walls, floors and buildings tend to have metal wires or bars through them. To keep lightning from striking you, don’t stand near or lean on these concrete structures.</p> <p><strong>Lie down</strong></p> <p>Lightning strikes the tallest object first, so it would make sense to make your body the smallest object around, right? That’s correct, but one thing you should never do during thunderstorms is lie down on the ground.</p> <p>Even at 30 metres away, the electric current from lightning that runs on the top of the ground can still be deadly. The best way to make yourself small is to crouch down in a ball-like position with your head tucked and hands covering your ears.</p> <p><strong>Go outside directly after a thunderstorm</strong></p> <p>If you’re outside and see lightning, you should start counting to 30. If you hear thunder before getting to 30, then you need to go inside. But when do you come back outside? Waiting at least 30 minutes is recommended before heading outside again after a thunderstorm.</p> <p><strong>Use a landline</strong></p> <p>Not many people use landlines these days, but if you still have one in your home, don’t use it during a thunderstorm. You shouldn’t even use your laptop or other electrical appliances because lightning can travel through electrical systems and zap anything connected to an outlet.</p> <p>Definitely don’t try unplugging devices during a storm either, as that’s also increases your risk of electrocution. The safest way to contact someone during a storm is to use a mobile phone – just make sure it’s not plugged into the charger.</p> <p><strong>Waste time removing metal </strong></p> <p>Metal conducts lightning but won’t necessarily attract it, according to the US National Weather Service. If you’re outside during a thunderstorm, don’t spend time trying to remove any metal that you’re wearing on your body, like belts or watches.</p> <p>Your main concern should be getting inside to safety, avoiding metal fences and railing along the way. However, the CDC says that you increase your chances of being directly hit by lightning if you carry a conductor (i.e. something made of metal) above shoulder level.</p> <p><strong>Stay in a huddled group </strong></p> <p>Another thing you should never do in a thunderstorm is stay close to your friends or have people near you. By separating from a group of people, you can lower the amount of people who are at risk of being hurt by ground currents and side flashes between people.</p> <p><strong>Touch anything wet</strong></p> <p>The US National Weather Service explains that water, like metal, doesn’t attract lightning, but it can conduct it. If you touch anything wet or are in water, you put yourself at a high risk of being shocked. Always remove yourself from the pool, lake, or any body of water during a thunderstorm.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/uncategorized/never-do-this-during-a-thunderstorm" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Caring

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5 international cities you should never visit alone

<p>It’s no secret that there are plenty of corners of the world that, while incredible to experience as a tourist, aren’t particularly safe to visit if you’re travelling alone.</p> <p>From taxi scams to pickpockets, gang violence and civil unrest, these locations present threats many travellers aren’t aware of when they’re booking their flight.</p> <p>We’re going to look at five cities you shouldn’t travel alone in. If one of these cities finds its way into your itinerary, make sure you bring a friend (and travel insurance)!</p> <p><strong>1. Mexico City, Mexico</strong></p> <p>One of the largest metropolitan areas in the world,<strong> </strong>Mexico City fascinates first time visitors with its size and scope. And while it’s generally easily accessible, the city has something of a violent streak at night with muggings and pickpockets a constant problem.</p> <p><strong>2. Lima, Peru</strong></p> <p>The gateway to Machu Picchu, Lima has a vibrant food scene and many enchanting attractions for anyone looking to experience South America. But, due partly to the high tourist numbers, illegal taxi services and hijackings have become a big problem.</p> <p><strong>3. New Delhi, India</strong></p> <p>Sprawling, chaotic, yet endlessly fascinating, New Delhi is a must-visit location for anyone exploring the ins and outs of the sub-continent. Unfortunately however, it’s not the safest place to visit by yourself, with sexual assaults a huge problem in the city.</p> <p><strong>4. Jakarta, Indonesia</strong></p> <p>A popular destination for many holidaymakers, Jakarta offers travellers a unique tropical getaway. That being said, there are many threats that can turn a dream holiday into a nightmare. Terrorism and kidnappings in the region are particularly problematic.</p> <p><strong>5. Bogota, Colombia</strong></p> <p>The vibrant, historic capital of Colombia produces some of the finest coffee in the world. However, it’s also one of the most dangerous places for western travellers, with terrorist organisations, drug cartels and armed street gangs a persistent problem.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p>

International Travel

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Vets share their 5 best tips for safer dog walks – and 5 things never to do

<h2>Dogs need exercise</h2> <p>Dogs need physical exercise –  and as their owner, those daily steps add up for you, too. A 2017 study published in BMC Public Health found that dog owners walk an average of 22 extra minutes per day. That’s exercise that counts toward The Heart Foundation’s recommended 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise.</p> <p>Walking outside has some major health perks for you…and, says veterinarian, Dr Megan Conrad, regular walks provide excellent mental stimulation for your pooch.</p> <p>However, Dr Conrad and some fellow veterinarians told us there are some definite do’s and don’ts of dog walking that’ll help keep you and your pup safe and strolling happily for ages to come.</p> <h2>Do: Know your dog’s walking needs</h2> <p>In general, daily walks are recommended for most dogs, Dr Conrad says. Still, “the length of your walk very much depends on breed, age, and overall physical health.” A young border collie can go for several kilometres, while an older mini poodle is likely to need a shorter walk.</p> <p>The average adult dog needs about 20 to 45 minutes of moderate exercise twice a day, which can include a brisk walk, says veterinarian, Dr Whitney Miller. But, Dr Miller says, it’s a good idea to check with your pet’s veterinarian to determine his or her individual exercise needs.</p> <h2>Don’t: Walk too much too soon</h2> <p>“Just like we would not go out and run a marathon without training first,  you cannot expect your dog to go long distances right away,” Dr Karwacki says. When you’re establishing a walking routine, go short distances first and see how your dog is doing before you tack on more mileage.</p> <h2>Do: Make adjustments for the weather</h2> <p>“The general rule is if it’s too hot or too cold for you to be outside, it’s too much for your dog as well,” says veterinarian Dr Amber Karwacki.</p> <p>This is especially true for breeds like French bulldogs, pugs, or Boston terriers that don’t handle high temperatures well. One way around the heat is to aim for early morning or nighttime walks – just make sure to equip yourself and your dog with high-visibility gear like reflective clothing and lights (and carry a torch!).</p> <p>If possible, choose an area or route that allows your dog to walk on soft grass or dirt, as this helps prevent damage to their paw pads, Dr Miller says. “If you are walking on cold ground, booties can help prevent your pet’s paws from injury, keep snow and ice from getting stuck between the pads, and provide a barrier against ice melt,” she adds.</p> <p>If you’re walking on pavement during the summer, using paw protection (and bringing plenty of water!) is a good idea, too.</p> <h2>Do: Watch your dog’s behaviour</h2> <p>“Dogs may slow down, look in your direction, or outright refuse to move if they are feeling tired or don’t want to walk,” Dr Conrad says – and it’s important to respect this cue. Take notice of any excessive panting or unusual fatigue as well, Dr Miller adds, as these are clear signs to end the walk.</p> <p>If you sense that your dog is peeing more than usual, you should contact your vet – this could be a sign of illness.</p> <h2>Do: Let your dog sniff around</h2> <p>“Behaviourally, there’s nothing wrong with your dog frequently stopping to sniff their environment, and it can be good enrichment for them,” Dr Miller explains. “Sniffing is one of the main ways your dog experiences their environment, and there can be lots to take in on a walk, even in a familiar area.”</p> <h2>Do: Use positive reinforcement</h2> <p>Avoid reprimanding your dog or using other forms of punishment, even if it seems mild, like pulling on their collar, Dr Miller says. Research, such as one 2020 study, has shown that aversive-based training can cause stress and confusion in dogs, and this can lead to poor behaviour – possibly only because they don’t understand.</p> <p>“Positive reinforcement is proven to be effective,” Dr Miller says. “It promotes a focus on teaching dogs what we want them to do, such as having good manners, rather than focusing on behaviours we deem undesired.”</p> <p>You can use treats to reward your dog when they stay politely at your side, when they observe other dogs calmly instead of charging after them, and when they return their attention to you after something distracts them.</p> <h2>Don’t: Use retractable leashes</h2> <p>Retractable leashes allow too much freedom to explore in places that may be dangerous, Dr Conrad says – and they can make it difficult to keep control of your dog. Some larger breeds of dogs may even be able to break them, and they’re known for causing skin burns, Dr Karwacki adds.</p> <p>Here, it’s also important to note the findings of an April 2023 sports medicine study at Johns Hopkins University. A team of doctors analysed 20 years’ worth of national data and reported that on average, around 21,000 people per year seek treatment for injuries related to walking their pups on leashes. The data suggests that the majority of these injuries occur in individuals between age 40 and 64, and the most common reported injuries are finger fractures, traumatic brain injury, and shoulder sprains and strain.</p> <p>That’s one more reason to choose a stable leash (not a retractable one), pay attention to your walk (don’t lose your focus by looking at your phone or getting otherwise distracted), and be mindful of the size of dog you’ll be able to manage for the coming years when you’re looking to bring a new canine companion into your life.</p> <h2>Don’t: Let them off the leash</h2> <p>Unless you’re in a dog park, “it is essential to always keep your dog on a leash when out on a walk,” even if they’re well-behaved and trained, Dr Miller says. “You may encounter local wildlife and other people or dogs that could react negatively toward an off-leash dog or could distract your dog.”</p> <p>Dr Miller recommends using a no-pull harness that’s well-fitted (meaning it doesn’t restrict your dog’s range of motion) to encourage good behaviour and limit accidental negative reinforcement, like pulling on their collar. “If your dog gets excited and pulls during the walk, simply stop walking and reward them when they are exhibiting the desired behaviour of a loose leash,” she explains. “Continue to reward while walking when your dog is at your side and not pulling. Patience and consistency are important for reinforcing good manners.”</p> <h2>Don’t: Approach other dogs without permission</h2> <p>“Some dogs are reactive or nervous around other dogs, and having a strange dog come up to them can be intimidating and scary,” Dr Conrad says.</p> <p>Plus, not every person will be comfortable with you interacting with their pet, so be sure to over-communicate and seek permission, adds Dr Miller. (Also, stay fully focused – on-leash greetings can cause leashes to tangle up, presenting safety risks for both the dogs and the walkers.)</p> <h2>Don’t: Walk right after they eat</h2> <p>Avoid going on a long walk with your dog if it’s within an hour of them eating a large meal, Dr Miller says. This reduces the risk of stomach bloat, which can be harmful to your dog. (Besides, is there any feeling more satisfying than putting their breakfast bowl in front of them right after your morning walk? We think not.)</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/pets/vets-share-their-5-best-tips-for-safer-dog-walks-and-5-things-never-to-do" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>.</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Flight attendant’s animated safety demonstration goes viral

<p dir="ltr">Sitting through the safety demonstration on an aeroplane can be tedious, but it is essential and necessary for every flight, so one flight attendant has gone the extra mile to make sure people are paying attention.</p> <p dir="ltr">On board a JetBlue flight from Newark to Tampa in the US, the flight attendant was captured performing his theatrical “mime routine” which attracted millions of views worldwide. </p> <p dir="ltr">The <a href="https://www.tiktok.com/@coaaf/video/7234948734910483755" target="_blank" rel="noopener">video</a> uploaded to TikTok, which raked in more than 2 million views, showed the flight attendant theatrically gesturing along to the safety demonstration. </p> <p dir="ltr">Users took note of his micro-expressions as he showed passengers how to blow into the whistle before he dramatically “whipped” out of view as he mimed where the emergency exits on the plane were.</p> <p dir="ltr">The person who uploaded the video to TikTok, Joey MacNeer, called for viewers to "Fly Jet Blue [and] also give this guy a raise.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Commenters agreed with MacNeer’s message.</p> <p dir="ltr">"How did people not laugh? I'd be hollering," one wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Bro thinks he's in a play [on] Broadway," another said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Some pointed out the routine would save them in an emergency.</p> <p dir="ltr">"That's the only way I'd be able to pay attention and remember the instructions," one said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I actually understand what the pilot was saying with this guy," added another.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, some had the opposite reaction.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I'm drowning [because] I will not remember that," teased one user about the distracting but good “routine".</p> <p dir="ltr">"I definitely didn't even listen to the instructions lol, I'm distracted by his behaviour," said another.</p> <p dir="ltr">"If this don't work out he'd have a great gig as a mime," one commented.</p> <p dir="ltr">The flight attendant Peter Echevarria spotted the TikTok of himself and commented, "It was a pleasure working your [flight] today... hope to see you again on my next flight!”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credit: TikTok</em></p>

International Travel

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Can all dogs swim? What to know before taking your pup for a dip

<h2>Do dogs like to swim?</h2> <p>That depends. “Some dogs like to swim on their own, as they enjoy the water,” says veterinarian Dr Amber Karwacki. Other dogs might follow you into the water even if they don’t like it for the sheer enjoyment of being next to you. And if that doesn’t pull at your heartstrings, this will: Some loyal dog breeds overcome their aversion to water because they think you’re in danger. “If your dog is protective, they will do things they normally would not to keep you safe,” says Dr Karwacki.</p> <h2>Can all dogs swim?</h2> <p>It’s impossible not to associate the doggy paddle with dogs swimming. After all, that’s where we get the basic swimming technique from. Yet not all dogs can swim. Some don’t have the desire to be in or near the water, while other breeds might find swimming difficult or impossible. “These include any of the brachycephalic, or ‘smushed nose’ breeds, and dogs with long bodies and short legs such as corgis, dachshunds and basset hounds,” says veterinarian Dr Kelly Diehl.</p> <p>The good news is that dogs without natural swimming instincts can be taught with lessons, and you can keep them safe by putting them in a doggy life jacket. But can all dogs swim if they have swimming lessons? If your pup isn’t showing any interest or appears anxious in or around water, it might be better to stay on dry land.</p> <h2>Which dogs are natural swimmers?</h2> <p>Several dog breeds are inherently drawn to water. “They tend to be breeds that were bred to work in and around water,” says Dr Diehl. If these top-notch swimmers had résumés, their roles would span from heroic water rescues to hunting and retrieving to working with humans in and around boats. Still, genetic makeup isn’t a guarantee. Some descendants of well-known water-loving breeds may never want to dip their paws in for one reason or another. That said, the most common dog breeds known for swimming include:</p> <ul> <li>Labrador retriever</li> <li>Newfoundland</li> <li>Standard poodle</li> <li>Golden retriever</li> <li>Portuguese water dog</li> <li>Otterhound</li> <li>Spanish water dog</li> <li>English setter</li> <li>Irish water spaniel</li> <li>American water spaniel</li> <li>Chesapeake Bay retriever</li> <li>Barbet</li> <li>Boykin spaniel</li> <li>Curly-coated retriever</li> <li>Flat-coated retriever</li> <li>Lagotto Romagnolo</li> </ul> <h2>Which dogs can’t swim?</h2> <p>Certain breeds simply can’t doggy paddle like others due to their physical characteristics. “Dogs with shorter legs like dachshunds, rounder chests like pugs or denser muscle mass like bull terriers cannot swim,” says Dr Karwacki. Shorter legs, long bodies or barrel-shaped bodies struggle with staying afloat. And flat-faced breeds, like pugs, can easily get water up their noses and struggle to breathe, especially while exerting themselves swimming.</p> <p>Other issues? The thick and dense coats some dogs sport aren’t waterproof or water-repellent, so they get heavy in the water. And generally, most toy dog breeds, bred to be affectionate and cuddly, tend to favour a cosy lap over swimming laps.</p> <p>Here are some of the breeds that prefer a belly rub to a belly flop:</p> <ul> <li>Pug</li> <li>Dachshund</li> <li>Bull terrier</li> <li>Bassett hound</li> <li>French bulldog</li> <li>Boxer</li> <li>Pekingese</li> <li>Corgi</li> <li>Shih Tzu</li> <li>Chow chow</li> <li>Sharpei</li> <li>Staffordshire bull terrier</li> </ul> <h2>How do you know if a dog can swim?</h2> <p>OK, now you know how to answer the question: Can all dogs swim? But how do you know if your dog can swim? Regardless of whether you have a water-loving dog, a cute mixed breed or a super mutt, the first step is figuring out if your pup has any interest in playing or swimming in the water. “Walk around shallow water, wade in a little and see if they follow,” says Dr Diehl. If they’re not interested, invite some doggy friends to join or hit up a dog park with a designated swim area for pups. “One of my own Labrador retrievers was not enthusiastic but fell right in with the crowd when she saw other dogs swimming,” Dr Diehl adds.</p> <p>Once they are in a depth of water where paddling is necessary, watch them closely. Dogs instinctively know how to dog paddle, but dogs with little or no experience panic and frantically splash around to stay afloat. Dogs that propel their paws outward and back down, pushing the body in a smooth forward motion, show they can swim beyond panic/survival mode. With frequent and consistent swim sessions, pups can learn to swim safely and comfortably.</p> <h2>How to teach your dog to swim</h2> <p>First and foremost, “never toss your dog into the water to force them to swim,” says Dr Diehl. Your sweet pup will likely panic and be scarred for life, never wanting to return for a second lesson. Sarah-Anne Reed, a consulting holistic dog trainer, shares the following steps for teaching your dog to swim.</p> <h3>Test the water</h3> <p>Select a calm and shallow area with a gradual slope. Ensure the area is free of sharp rocks, broken glass and the like. “The water should be cool but not frigid,” says Reed.</p> <p>A doggy or kiddie pool is another great way to introduce puppies to water. “Begin with a small amount of water, and put some favourite toys in the pool,” Reed advises. “Move to deeper bodies of water only when your pup is comfortable not touching the ground.”</p> <h3>Use a life vest</h3> <p>Like humans, dogs need a life vest to keep them afloat while learning to swim. Choose a doggy life vest with a handle to grab them easily when in the water. Your dog might not share your enthusiasm for wearing a vest, so hold off on the first swimming lesson until they get acclimated to it. “Help your dog feel comfortable wearing the life vest by putting it on them every day, starting with five minutes and gradually increasing the time, before taking them to swim,” says Reed.</p> <p>After your pup has mastered swimming, it’s still a smart idea to use the vest to keep them safe. It can be a literal lifesaver if your dog gets tangled up in seaweed or debris or ends up in unpredictable currents.</p> <h3>Introduce your dog to the water gradually</h3> <p>Let your dog sniff around the water, and give them time to ease into it, wading up to their ankles. “Dogs will naturally feel more comfortable if they can touch the ground with their feet as they adjust to the sensation of being in water,” says Reed. Then, slowly encourage them to venture a little deeper. “Use positive reinforcement, such as treats and praise, to reward your dog for their progress.”</p> <h3>Show your dog how to swim</h3> <p>Since most dogs want to be with you, doing whatever you’re doing, use that to your advantage and get into the water with them – as long as you know how to swim. If your dog is scared, grab the handle on the vest and hold them close. “Once they seem comfortable in the water, swim around in front of your dog and encourage them to follow you,” says Reed. “This is easier if one person is holding your dog, while the other is gently coaxing them to swim.”</p> <p>Dog water toys and balls are great ways to entice your dog to stay in the water and swim. Toss one just a metre or so at first, and then gradually increase the throwing distance when your dog gets more confident.</p> <h3>Stay close and monitor your dog</h3> <p>Your dog is depending on you to be their personal lifeguard while they are in and around the water. “Keep an eye on their body language and behaviour, and be ready to help them if they need it. Some dogs might not realise their limit, especially puppies or dogs swimming together who are having a grand ol’ time in the water. “If your dog becomes tired and is struggling to swim or panting excessively, take a break, and try again another day,” says Reed.</p> <h3>Rinse off your dog after swimming</h3> <p>“After your dog’s swim, rinse them off with fresh water to remove any chlorine or salt from their coat,” says Reed. This will help prevent skin irritation and the possibility of toxic ingestion when dogs lick their wet fur.</p> <h2>Other safety issues to watch out for</h2> <p>Ready for a dip? Wait! Keeping your dog safe in the water isn’t simply a matter of keeping them afloat. Here are some other things to keep in mind:</p> <h3>Harmful algae</h3> <p>“With the climate warming, we’re seeing a lot more cases of blue-green algae poisoning,” says Dr Diehl. Seen in freshwater, this bluish-green algae can smell like rotting garbage. Avoid any water that clearly has pond scum and smells. When a dog drinks this contaminated water or licks its fur after swimming, it can work quickly.</p> <p>Warning signs your dog is sick include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness, staggering, disorientation and seizures within hours of exposure or up to a few days after ingesting, Dr Diehl says. If you suspect your dog was in blue-green algae water, call your veterinarian immediately.</p> <h3>Dangerous water conditions</h3> <p>Many dogs are stellar swimmers, but even the Michael Phelps of the canine world can get caught off-guard in certain conditions. “Dog owners still need to be mindful of rough weather, large waves, air temperature and water temperature,” says Dr Diehl.</p> <h3>Hazards in the water</h3> <p>Whether you’re heading into the lake or a pool, scope the area for potential hazards. “Ensure there is a safe entry and exit point,” says Dr Karwacki. Seeing every danger in the water is impossible, but you should still look for broken glass, sharp shells and dead tree limbs under the surface that could trap your dog. If your dog doesn’t object, try getting them used to wearing paw protectors to shield their paws from sharp objects and hot sand that can burn their paw pads.</p> <h3>Deeper-than-expected water</h3> <p>“Dogs can charge into the water and suddenly find themselves in over their head,” says Dr Diehl. This happened to one of her neighbour’s dogs that was used to swimming in shallow water. “She decided to follow our Labrador into a pond near our house but started panicking when she found herself suddenly in deeper water, and we had to wade in and help her out.” Dogs may not have good judgement about how far or deep they should go, so always be present when your dog is swimming.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/pets/can-all-dogs-swim-what-to-know-before-taking-your-pup-for-a-dip" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Family & Pets

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Tips for safe mobile banking

<p>As we increasingly turn to our mobile devices for online transactions, it’s crucial to keep security in mind. We’ve all misplaced our mobile phone at some stage and the last thing you want is for some random stranger to get direct access to your bank accounts and other personal details.</p> <p><strong>1. Use a strong password –</strong> This goes without saying.While it might not be as critical with your library pass, someone who cracks or guesses your online banking password can drain your account dry. If you memorise just one strong password, make it your online banking password.</p> <p><strong>2. Never store passwords on your smartphone –</strong> Many people still try to hide passwords or PIN numbers within the body of text or phone numbers. However, despite how cleverly you may think you've concealed them, criminals know what to look for and where. It's always best to commit these security details to memory and not record them anywhere. This includes not ticking "save password" on website and applications that offer to remember your login details. Also make sure you limit other personal information. Criminals are interested in more than just your internet banking details. Any kind of personal information can be used to steal your identity, which criminals can then use to apply for credit cards, personal loans, even mortgages.</p> <p><strong>3. Use a password manager –</strong> Okay, in the real world you probably have more than one online financial account. Rather than strain your brain memorising hard-to-crack passwords for each of them, look at enlisting the help of a password manager. There are plenty of apps available and the best ones not only store your passwords securely but also help you work through your collection of passwords and replace weak ones and duplicates.</p> <p><strong>4. Activate smartphone security settings and password protection –</strong> All smartphones have built-in security features such as auto-locking and password protection. While it may seem like a bit of an inconvenience at times, these physical security measures are your first line of defense in keeping your smartphone and your personal details safe. You can also install smartphone security software as well as remote data wiping software if you lose your phone or it gets stolen.</p> <p><strong>5. Connect through your data plan –</strong> If you're banking online on a mobile device, you have a degree of in-built protection available when you turn off wi-fi tethering and bluetooth and connect using your mobile data plan. It's a lot harder for criminals to sniff your mobile data stream than to snag passwords from network traffic. If you’re on wi-fi only use reputable hot spots that are password protected. If you connect to a shared wi-fi hotspot you are completely dependent on the security of the host network.</p> <p><strong>6. Don't be tempted to jailbreak your smartphone –</strong> If you crack the manufacturer's security on your smartphone, you not only make your warranty invalid but you make it much more vulnerable to attacks by cybercriminals.</p> <p><strong>7. Clear your phone when you replace it –</strong> If you sell or discard your smartphone, it's crucial you delete all personal information first. This includes SMS messages, emails, photographs, contact details and internet links. </p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p>

Money & Banking

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The safest travel destinations for women revealed

<p dir="ltr">With travel back on the cards for many after years of being confined to exploring no further than our own backyards, many are opting to head out on a journey of self-discovery. </p> <p dir="ltr">Eager travellers are setting out on their own ‘eat pray love’ holiday, and for a lot of people, heading abroad solo is the best way to discover a new place. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, for some, travelling alone can be a daunting prospect, especially for those less travelled and for women, who are unfortunately, often the target of unwanted attention. </p> <p dir="ltr">Luckily, travel experts at <a href="https://www.kipling.com/uk-en/live-light/europes-leading-city-escapes-for-solo-female-travellers/">Kipling</a> have released their first ever Solo Female Traveller Index, which considers female safety, the global gender gap, attractions, group activities, and other travel factors to rank Europe's best solo travel destinations. </p> <p dir="ltr">This list was topped by two thriving destinations in Germany, with the city of Hamburg taking out the top spot. </p> <p dir="ltr">For travellers seeking a solo trip which promises vibrant cultural experiences, a thriving food scene and iconic architecture, look no further than this waterborne gem.</p> <p dir="ltr">Second to Hamburg in Kipling’s index came Munich, another Bavarian gem, which is frequently rated one of the safest countries in the world. </p> <p dir="ltr">Famed for its annual Oktoberfest, Munich is a world-leading city for beer gardens, street food stalls, green spaces, and excellent public transport system, making it easy to visit the city’s iconic spots, including Munich’s iconic Nymphenburg Palace or New Town Hall.</p> <p dir="ltr">The rest of Kipling’s list features capital cities that appear on many people’s travel bucket lists, alongside lesser travelled picturesque places. Check out the top ten list below. </p> <ol> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Hamburg, Germany</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Munich, Germany</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Edinburgh, Scotland</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Faro, Portugal</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Dublin, Ireland</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Prague, Czech Republic</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Heraklion, Crete (Greece)</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Helsinki, Finland</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Kraków, Poland</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Zurich, Switzerland</p> </li> </ol> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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Which medicines don’t go well with flying?

<p>Every day, <a href="http://www.iata.org/pressroom/pr/Pages/2012-12-06-01.aspx">more than 10 million people</a> take a flight somewhere in the world. While flying is relatively safe, the unique environmental conditions can put passengers at risk if they’re taking certain medications.</p> <p>These include any hormone-based drugs, like the contraceptive pill and some fertility medicines, and drugs used to prevent heart attack and stroke. Antihistamines should also not be used to help passengers sleep during a flight.</p> <h2>What makes flying different from other forms of travel?</h2> <p>While flying is <a href="https://theconversation.com/whats-most-likely-to-kill-you-measuring-how-deadly-our-daily-activities-are-72505">one of the safest forms of travel</a>, there are specific risks that come with air travel, regardless of the length of the flight. </p> <p>Passenger planes are typically pressurised to the same atmospheric conditions that are found at 10,000 feet altitude. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6823572">At that level</a>, <a href="https://www.higherpeak.com/altitudechart.html">the effective oxygen level is only 14.3%</a>, which is much lower than the 20.9% found at ground level.</p> <p>An additional risk is reduced blood flow from a lack of movement and sitting in cramped conditions, unless of course you’re fortunate enough to be in business or first class. And finally, dehydration is also a common side effect of flying due to the lack of humidity in the air.</p> <p>When these conditions are combined, it results in an increased risk of <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/deep-vein-thrombosis">deep vein thrombosis</a>, which is also known as DVT. This is a type of blood clot that occurs in the veins deep in the body and occurs most often in the legs. The development of a blood clot can result in blocked blood flow to the lungs, heart, or brain, which in turn can cause a heart attack or stroke.</p> <h2>Contraceptive pill and other hormone-based medicines</h2> <p>Given the inherent risk of a blood clot when flying, a passenger should use with caution any medication that can further increase the risk of a clot.</p> <p>Some brands of contraceptive for women (tablet or implant formulation) are <a href="http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/health/new-bloodclot-alerts-added-to-diane35-eds-product-information/news-story/eaa0b596541a760e9c6cf89b37900c42">known to increase the chances of a blood clot</a>, although the overall increase in risk is small. While it’s thought the major risk comes from the hormone <a href="http://www.healthywomen.org/condition/estrogen">estrogen</a>, <a href="http://www.cochrane.org/CD010813/FERTILREG_contraceptive-pills-and-venous-thrombosis">a review of all the medical evidence in 2014</a> showed there’s a risk of blood clot from all contraceptive medicines.</p> <p>Likewise, <a href="https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt-and-menopause">hormone replacement therapy</a>, particularly those that include estrogen, or some fertility medicines, such as <a href="https://www.babycenter.com/0_fertility-drug-gonadotropins_6188.bc">gonadotrophins</a>, can increase the risk of a blood clot.</p> <p>If you take one of these medicines, it does not mean you cannot fly, nor that you should necessarily stop taking the drug. Many millions of women fly while taking these medicines and suffer no ill effects.</p> <p>But the risk is also increased if you have an underlying health condition that includes type II diabetes, heart disease, and prior heart attacks or strokes. As such, passengers who also take medications to help prevent heart attacks and strokes should consult their doctor or pharmacist before flying.</p> <p>If you’re at increased risk of a blood clot, then an anti-platelet medication may be suitable for you. These medicines act by stopping the blood cells from sticking together and include prescription medicines such as <a href="http://www.melbournehaematology.com.au/fact-sheets/warfarin.html">warfarin</a> and <a href="https://www.nps.org.au/australian-prescriber/articles/clopidogrel">clopidogrel</a>, and over-the-counter medicines such as <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/medicines/brand/amt,34661000168102/aspirin-low-dose-pharmacy-action">low dose aspirin</a>.</p> <h2>Antihistamines</h2> <p>Many passengers can have trouble sleeping when flying, especially on long-haul flights. Parents flying with young children can also be concerned about them not sleeping or being unsettled and annoying other passengers.</p> <p>In these instances, many will turn to <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/antihistamines">sedating antihistamines</a>, like <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/medicines/brand/amt,22661000168108/phenergan">promethazine</a> to try to induce sleep. But this is a bad option.</p> <p>The Australian Medical Association specifically recommends <a href="http://www.smh.com.au/national/australian-medical-association-warns-against-sedating-children-on-long-journeys-20150405-1mesd0.html">parents do not do this</a>, as sometimes it can have the reverse effect and make children less sleepy and more active. These types of <a href="http://www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/PUArticles/Mar2013ChildrenAndSedatingAntihistamines.htm">antihistamines are also known to depress breathing</a>, and in the low oxygen environment of the aircraft this can be especially dangerous.</p> <p>If you feel you or another family member will need sedation when flying, don’t use an antihistamine. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for a more suitable medication. Examples include prescription sleeping tablets, such as <a href="https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/melatonin-and-sleep">melatonin</a>, or natural remedies, such as <a href="https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-870-valerian.aspx?activeingredientid=870">valerian</a>.</p> <h2>What to do before and during your flight</h2> <p>Before you fly, if you’re taking any form of medication, it’s recommended you meet with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the suitability of your medicines. They may advise you there’s little risk for you, or if there is a risk, they may recommend a different medicine for the trip or recommend a new medicine to reduce the risk of blood clots.</p> <p>During your flight, don’t take antihistamines, and reduce your chance of a blood clot by drinking lots of water, stretching in your seat, and moving about the cabin as much as is appropriate.</p> <p>Finally, the effects of alcohol can be increased when flying – so drink in moderation, and try to avoid tea, coffee, and other caffeinated drinks as these can have dehydrating effects and make it harder to sleep.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/which-medicines-dont-go-well-with-flying-90222" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

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