Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

Ouch - it's Christmas time

Merry holiday revellers trying out new skateboards and bikes contribute to a large number of emergency department patients in the Western Bay at Christmas.

They are the most common cause of minor injuries on December 25, Tauranga Hospital Emergency Department nurse manager Marama Tauranga said.

People have also fallen victim to exploding champagne corks, dodgeball injuries and even humorous Christmas crackers, new ACC figures reveal.

About 160 ACC claims were registered in the Western Bay for Christmas day injuries last year, costing nearly $162,000.

Nationwide, more than 3500 claims were accepted, amounting to about $2 million in treatment, support and rehabilitation costs.

Mrs Tauranga urged people to behave responsibly over the Christmas season.

"If you are going to drink - drink to enjoy the moment not to forget the moment. If you are going to drive - it is the journey that counts not the end destination. Drive to the speed limit."

ACC's general manager injury and prevention services John Beaglehole is also reminding Kiwis to take it easy on Tuesday.

"Last year, 3500 Kiwis had their Christmas day blighted by injuries.

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

Some people pulled a muscle while cooking dinner and others burned themselves on the barbecue.

Being hit by flying corks, cutting a hand while opening a bottle and slicing crayfish were all reported causes of Christmas day injuries last year, he said.

The number of claims has risen slightly since 2010. Nearly half of last year's Christmas ACC claims were due to falls around the home.

"[People] 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 in and around the home," Mr Beaglehole said.

Lame Christmas cracker jokes can also prove dangerous. Two years ago one Christmas-goer laughed so hard they fainted, fell in the garden and hit their head.

Mr Beaglehole said people could do several things to minimise chances of an accident.

"About 30 per cent of injuries involve alcohol, so remember to be a responsible host if serving alcohol this Christmas.

"Use a ladder or step-ladder to hang Christmas decorations, not a chair, or worse still a chair balanced on a table" he said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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