Watch out for Christmas danger zones

By Teuila Fuatai -

Merry parents who are feeling adventurous on Christmas Day should think twice before hopping on their kids' new toys, a local nurse warns.

Christmas Day revellers have been known to fall victim to exploding champagne corks, dodgeball injuries and even humorous Christmas crackers, new ACC figures reveal.

Wairarapa Hospital Emergency Department charge nurse manager Vicki Hookham says too many parents injure themselves trying to ride bikes and skateboards designed for children on December 25.

More than 30 ACC claims were registered in Wairarapa for Christmas Day injuries last year, costing more than $7300.

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

Ms Hookham said over-eager parental antics at Christmas time often resulted in disappointed children.

"[There are a number of] devastated kids we see because older brother or mum and dad - mainly dad - has tried something they shouldn't have.

"The toy's broken and they have got injured and so you're dealing with an injury and a devastated child."

She urged holidaymakers to take care over the holidays, plan any activities and drink responsibly.

"We're not saying don't do it - we're saying if you are going to do it, think about it."

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

"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 several 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 in and 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 stepladder to hang Christmas decorations, not a chair, or worse still a chair balanced on a table."APNZ

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