Festive season delivers a bunch of weird injuries

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By RACHEL MCDONALD

The chorus of this year’s ACC Christmas safety video says it all: “On the first day of Christmas, New Zealand gave to me, a bunch of weird festive injuries”.

The video is being released in instalments over the 12 days of Christmas and features such accidents as being squashed by a falling Christmas tree, keeling over on a hallway rug, taking a plunge off a new bike, and getting prickles in the feet playing backyard sport.

However, some of the more than 4000 injuries suffered last year by Kiwis on Christmas Day alone – which cost $3.6 million in ACC claims – were not so commonplace. Some may well have involved alcohol.

Last year, lifting injuries came near the top of the table, along with nasty falls.

In addition, there were 28 people hurt while cooking or barbecuing, including incidents of toppling into the barbecue; cut feet from standing on Christmas ornaments; toddlers eating Christmas decorations and sticking fairy lights up their noses; and several encounters between flying Champagne corks and faces.

Twenty admissions were noted as dealing with a foreign body in an orifice or eye. There were 95 claims for cuts, punctures, or stings, and a further 22 claims came down to housework biting back as homes were tidied before and after the big day in order to host friends and family.

On the more serious side, road injuries are still the source of the largest number of ACC claims at Christmas, with 405 logged last year.

Accidents in and around water, including drownings, are also a key statistic, counting for 171 injuries on Christmas Day in 2017. ACC’s head of injury prevention, Isaac Carlson, says it is important to teach young people how to assess and manage risks.

The Environmental Protection Authority’s Safer Homes programme spokeswoman Lizzie Wilson offers some constructive ideas about managing risk around the holidays, particularly when it comes to firing up the barbecue, taking a pool dip, or heading to the beach.

“The sun, pool and spa chemicals, and LPG all pose risks, especially to children. This can include toddlers near open flames, or gaining access to chemicals which are not locked up and out of sight,” she says.