Holidays a hotbed for children's injuries

By Lydia Anderson

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Last year 6102 ACC injury claims were lodged for Rotorua kids aged 0-14, costing taxpayers $1,281,162.
Last year 6102 ACC injury claims were lodged for Rotorua kids aged 0-14, costing taxpayers $1,281,162.

While Rotorua children are having a blast these school holidays, the increased free time will likely see a spike in nasty accidents.

Last year 6102 ACC injury claims were lodged for Rotorua kids aged 0-14, costing taxpayers $1,281,162. This was up from 5903 claims the previous year at $959,128.

Nationwide 334,141 child injury claims were lodged last year, costing $63,901,699. Boys were the most accident-prone with 188,529 claims, compared to girls with 145,612 claims.

Head of Rotorua Hospital Emergency Department, Dr Mazen Shasha, said the hospital saw more children with injuries during school holidays.

"Some are children from out of the area who are here with their family on holiday.

"People from out of town are often unfamiliar with the mountain bike tracks, or are not familiar with the hot pools and the dangers they can present."

The most common injuries were playground accidents and sport injuries such as biking or skateboard accidents.

"Parents need to keep a watchful eye on their children in the playground.

"Our staff have seen some children presenting with injuries from interaction in the playground, where children have been pushed etc, resulting in a fall and injury."

He urged parents to make sure their children were wearing the correct and protective equipment or clothing during sport and recreation.

Most ACC child injury claims nationwide were for minor injuries. Soft tissue injuries, such as bruises, strains and sprains, led to around 152,600 claims, and lacerations, puncture wounds and stings resulted in around 98,100 claims.

The next most common injury category was fractures and dislocations.

Other injuries included dental injuries, burns, "foreign body" in eye, and concussion.

ACC's insurance and prevention services general manager John Beaglehole said many minor injuries happened during everyday, healthy play, so were simply part of childhood.

"Most kids love running and jumping around, which are all part of a healthy lifestyle. In fact, kids need to take some risks in order to learn.

"But at the same time, there are things you can do to help prevent injuries."

How parents went about this would depend on their child's age, he said.

"With preschoolers, it's basically up to parents and caregivers to manage their risks, by checking their environment and through good supervision.

"As kids get older, you still need to set boundaries, but it's also about helping them start to learn to manage risk sensibly themselves.

"That means talking to them about risks and being a good role model."

Keep safe:

Stick loose rugs and mats to the floor.

Clean up toys and clutter, especially in walkways.

Mop up wet spills as soon as they happen.

Run cords from electrical appliances along the wall, rather than across the floor.

Clean moss from outside paths.

Position lighting to make sure walkways inside and outside the home can be well lit at night.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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