Dangerous side of the great Kiwi holiday

By Michael Dickison

Even playing with a frisbee can injure. Photo / Getty Images
Even playing with a frisbee can injure. Photo / Getty Images

One of the greatest perils of Christmas will come today for many people - packing up for the holidays.

ACC said getting hurt seemed to be a Kiwi tradition during Christmas for many families, and one of the most hazardous vacation-related activities was getting ready for a trip.

The agency received 50,000 injury claims during the holiday period last year, many stemming from vacation-related mishaps.

People told of injuries incurred while loading gear into a car or trailer, lifting a tent down from the attic, and while folding a camp chair.

Camping is a particularly perilous activity.

ACC records tell of damage caused by walking into a tree stump after dark, falling over a beer-filled chilly bin, being hit by exploding fireworks and getting caught in a tent rope.

Sometimes holidaymakeers needed no props with which to injure themselves.

People reported cartwheeling strains, a piggy-backing boyfriend twisting an ankle, and siblings running into each other while playing at the camping ground.

"Summer holidays should be a time for you and your family to enjoy together," said ACC's general manager of insurance and prevention services, Dr Keith McLea.

"We don't want Kiwis having their hard-earned holidays cut short by an accident,"

An invitation to stay with friends or family was a gateway to accidents, Dr McLea said.

"Unfortunately people often fall when they're in a house they're not familiar with, like the family bach or a relative's home."

ACC has produced a list of other Kiwi holiday pastimes where injuries occurred.

They include "foreign body in eye after grinding rust off the barbecue", "underarm rope burns from sea biscuiting", and "fishbone lodged in throat when picnicking".

The agency suggested people make sure to wipe up any spills and puddles from playing in water - which appears to be the element most effective in facilitating holiday mishaps.

Last year holidayers fell on to rocky beaches while trying to lift dinghies, slipped while collecting mussels and were stung by jellyfish.

This week, ACC also warned that the Christmas ham could also cause injuries in several way, including burning skin, straining necks and crushing fingers.

Christmas breaks

1. Foreign body in eye after grinding rust off the barbecue
2. Falling over a beer-filled chilly bin
3. Getting caught in tent rope
4. A cart wheeling strain
5. Piggy-backing boyfriend on beach twisted foot awkwardly
6. Swimming at the beach where the jelly fish stung
7. Fishbone lodged in throat when picnicking
8. Lunging for a frisbee on the beach
9. A squashed finger caught in a folding camp chair
10. Walking into a tree stump after dark

- NZ Herald

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