Danger

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Traffic signs which are triangular with a red border are warning drivers about something dangerous. This one simply has an exclamation mark, so it might refer to any kind of danger.

Danger (also risk or peril) is the possibility of something bad happening. A situation in which there is a risk of something bad happening, is called dangerous, risky or perilous.

People often take risks, or do things that might hurt them. An example of this is crossing the road without looking carefully. There is a risk that you might get hit by a car. Some animals are dangerous because they might attack humans. Anything that involves a risk of injury or to health can be described as dangerous. Smoking is dangerous to health.

How dangerous a situation may be is determined by probability. In epidemiology, risk is defined as the number of events divided by the number of people prone to that event. For example, if the risk of babies dying after birth in a population is reported as 1/1000, it means that from each 1000 babies born, 1 is likely to die.

Risk is different from prevalence. Prevalence refers to the number of people with a disease in a population, while risk means the number of new cases, divided by the number of people who could possibly become a case (for example, those who had a chance to be exposed to the disease).

A risk assessment is a list of things that could go wrong. In many Western countries, when teachers take children on an outing they may have to fill in a risk assessment form which lists the possible dangers and says what they should do to stop bad things from happening (e.g. accidents or children getting lost).

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