Clumsiness leading cause of teenage injury, says ACC

Hundreds of children and teenagers in Manawatu are getting hurt by stumbling, slipping and losing personal control, according to ACC.

Figures released by ACC under the Official Information Act list the top 10 reasons under-18s claimed for injuries in the four months to April, and the related compensation costs.

The most common claim was for losing personal control or balance, with 1678 new claims lodged.

It more than doubles the second most common claim of collision or being knocked over by an object, which had 652 new claims.

Massey University School of Exercise and Sport Science director Steve Stannard said there could be two reasons why loss of balance and control were the most often-cited reason for injury.

"Loss of balance or control to cause an accident is often due to a chosen physical task being beyond the capability of the person," Dr Stannard said. "It is certainly possible that because of reduced opportunities for physical activity, and perhaps also formal physical education classes in the early years, some children may be at greater risk of accidents due to poor balance and co-ordination.

It was also possible that "even for this age group, in at least some of the cases, alcohol might be involved - but I'd suggest this would be a minor contributor," he said.

Dr Stannard said it would be interesting to find out if a lack of experience in performing physical tasks requiring balance and co-ordination underlay the injury rate.

The most common new claim in the four month period, for loss of personal control, saw a $529,484 payout.

The smallest payout was for puncture wounds, at $110,879.

More than $3 million compensation was paid to under-18s for 4885 incidents from January to April.

Manawatu Standard