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15 December 2021

When Christmas fights back: preventable injuries on the rise

New Zealanders urged to take care this Christmas.

In the past three years ACC has dealt with claims for 150 injuries involving the Christmas ham alone! Two-thirds of cases (91) involved ham fans copping bad cuts.

That’s not the end of the festive follies, though. Also in that period, there’s been 119 claims related to Christmas decoration injuries (mostly fractures, strains and cuts). Christmas tree mishaps resulted in 178 claims.

Even something as simple as wrapping presents can go wrong. There were 41 injury claims.

Last year, the five most common claims ACC received over the Christmas and the New Year period were:

ACC injuries prevention leader James Whitaker said New Zealanders are most prone to injuries leading up to the jolly day.

“With the relatives crowding in the kitchen, friends enjoying a few drinks and new presents being tested, houses are rife with hazards,” he said.

Between December 1 and 25 last year, ACC accepted 134,000 new claims.

This marked a five-year high and cost taxpayers more than $244 million.

The average cost for each claim was $617.

Injury claims in the period between December 24 and January 6 have dropped off over the past three years, down from about 71,000 in 2018-19 to about 68,000 in 2020-21.

However, if you’re planning any fitness resolutions for 2022, it pays to pace yourself.

On January 1, 2021, ACC received almost 3000 claims for strains, sprains, bruises, and tears. The leading cause of these injuries were activities like walking and running.

Whitaker’s key message for consumers this holiday season is to “slow down” and think twice.

“In the lead up to Christmas, there are a lot of festive celebrations, toasting to the end of the year and the summer ahead – taking a moment to assess the risk and ‘have a hmmm’ can stop you from suffering a serious injury,” he said.

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