Christmas mishaps cost ACC millions

CHRISTMAS DINNER: Don't injure yourself on the Christmas ham.
CHRISTMAS DINNER: Don't injure yourself on the Christmas ham.

People tripping on wrapping paper, slicing their arms instead of the turkey roast and falling from trampolines were among Christmas Day injuries that cost taxpayers more than $2 million in ACC payouts last year. 

Figures released today show 255 people in Christchurch City made a claim to the ACC after injuring themselves on Christmas Day in 2011, costing $123,371 in treatment, support and rehabilitation.

In the Waimakariri District there were 14 claims, costing $3035, in Selwyn there were 10, costing $1120, and in Hurunui there were nine claims, costing $11,874. 

Timaru had 23 claims, costing $23,259, Ashburton had 18, costing $11,490, and Kaikoura had eight, costing $7045.

Nationwide, the ACC accepted 3527 claims from people who injured themselves last December 25, costing the taxpayer over $2m. 

That was 490 more claims than Christmas Day the previous year.

About 30 per cent of the injuries involved alcohol, and 1700 of last years' claims were the result of falls. 

ACC injury and prevention services general manager John Beaglehole said many injuries occurred while people were doing their favourite Christmas Day pastimes.

"Their injuries occurred while rushing to get their presents or playing with new toys, or their grandchildren's toys,'' he said.

"Some pulled a muscle while cooking the Christmas dinner, others were burnt at the barbecue, were hit by a flying cork, or cut a hand opening a bottle or cutting crayfish.

"They hurt themselves while doing a bit of gardening, setting up a tent, diving into the pool or swimming at the beach, playing cricket or dodgeball with the family, or falling off scooters and skateboards."

A Canterbury District Health Board spokeswoman said it was mostly "business as usual" on Christmas Day, but there were usually some injuries from adults playing with children's toys.

Beaglehole urged people to be "responsible hosts" this Christmas.

"Use a ladder or stepladder to hang decorations, not a chair or, worse still, a chair balanced on a table,'' he said.

''Ensure your Christmas tree has a sturdy base to stop it toppling over.

''You may have extra people staying. Clear away the Christmas debris to prevent them tripping." 

The Press