The Accident Compensation Corporation forked out close to $100 million for Bay of Plenty residents injured at home in 2020 to help them recover.
Both the number of new injury claims and the cost of those injuries was the highest it had been in the previous five years.
ACC head of injury prevention Isaac Carlson said it was important to think about potential risks during lockdown but acknowledged it was a chaotic time for many.
Despite the extra time spent at home since the pandemic started, Lakes District Health Board head of emergency department Dr Suzanne Moran said there had been no spike in at-home injury presentations during either lockdown.
There were 4.9 million claims for injuries around the home accepted by ACC between 2016 and 2020 across New Zealand, which cost $5.6 billion to help people recover.
Last year, there were just over 1 million claims accepted for a cost of $1.4b, an increase of $143m from 2019.
In the Bay of Plenty during this period, there were 364,336 new claims which cost $382m — in 2020 there were 75,159 injury claims which cost $96m.
One in five New Zealanders will injure themselves at home on average.
There were seven ways Kiwis were hurting themselves at home more than any other: Falls, lifting and carrying, animal-related, gardening, puncture and cuts, twisting movement, and collision/knocked over.
"We want people to be doing the things that they love at home but we also want to collectively change our mindset on preventing injury so we can get through this period without serious injury," Carlson said.
"We know it's chaos for many families out there. Trying to work from home and manage a family during a lockdown is not an easy time so we all need to acknowledge that.
"But it's important to think about risk during this period so we can decrease the number and the severity of injuries."
ACC was encouraging New Zealanders to take a moment to think about what they were doing and what could go wrong to prevent an injury.
Tidying up toys, keeping floors clear of cables and other items, wiping spills immediately and knowing how to safely interact with animals were a handful of useful steps, Carlson said.
Rotorua Hospital and Taupō Hospital had not seen an increase in at-home injuries during this lockdown or the one last year, Moran said.
"Our overall numbers have been lower than we would usually see but the type of presentations we are seeing has remained consistent," she said.
At-home injuries included burns and scalds, cutting hands on knives or open tins, and tripping over obstacles, Moran said. Sometimes the emergency department saw people with DIY related injuries due to power tools too.
"This is pretty usual work for ED and this type of presentation is seen on a regular basis," Moran said.
"The types of presentation can be associated with different age brackets – elderly patients are more likely to fall around the home, toddlers are more likely to fall/trip or bump their head in the home against furniture."
The seven ways New Zealanders are hurting themselves at home:
Falls are often attributed to older age groups but they happen at any age. The most affected age group for fall injuries is 0-9 years old. With 1.6 million new claims over the past five years, falls are the leading cause of injuries in the home.
In the past five years, there were 118,417 new claims for fall injuries at home in the Bay of Plenty and there were 25,276 falls injuries at home in 2020, the highest for this period.
While falls are the most common injury at home, they are also the most preventable. Safekids Aotearoa has a Whare Kahikā app giving whānau knowledge to create a safe physical home environment for tamariki.
For over 65s, ACC runs Live Stronger for Longer, an injury prevention programme to prevent falls and fractures.
Lifting and carrying
Lifting and carrying injuries happen when a load is too heavy, it's difficult to grasp, or it's too large so the physical effort is too strenuous.
Those in the 30-39 age group are most likely to have lifting or carrying injuries, and they are most commonly injuring their lower back.
With more than 620,000 new claims in the past five years, both how people lift and how much affect health.
In the Bay of Plenty in the past five years, there were 47,319 injuries caused by lifting and carrying. In 2020 in the Bay of Plenty there were 10,550 lifting/carrying injuries at home which were the highest for this period.
Children from 0-9 years old lead this injury and most commonly suffered bites and scratches.
ACC accepted more than 325,000 new claims for animal-related injuries at home over the past five years.
There were 22,752 animal-related injury claims at home in the Bay of Plenty over the past five years and 4868 injury claims of this nature in 2020, the highest of this period.
Use lockdown as a chance to teach children how to interact safely with animals.
The 60 to 69-year-old age group are most commonly injured in the garden, and they're hurting their lower back the most.
Over the past five years, there have been 26,707 gardening related injury claims accepted in the Bay of Plenty, with 5502 gardening injuries in the Bay of Plenty in 2020, the highest for this period. Check out ACC's home safety checklist.
Puncture and cuts
Punctures are the fifth-most common injury at home and includes knife cuts.
Fingers and thumbs are most commonly suffering, and children up to 9, having a go in the kitchen are hurting themselves the most.
There were 23,808 puncture injuries in the Bay of Plenty in the past five years and 5491 in 2020, the highest for this period.
Putting a back out is a common injury, and for the 50-59-year-olds this happens a lot in their lower back.
There have been more than 282,000 new claims for twisting injuries over the past five years.
In the Bay of Plenty, there were 21,363 twisting injuries over this period, with 4207 in 2020.
During lockdown, it is common for children to run around the house and collide with objects or walls.
Children, in the 0 to 9-year-old age bracket, are most commonly injured in collisions and they injure their hands as they go down.
Over the past five years, there have been more than 250,000 new claims for collision injuries in New Zealand. In the Bay of Plenty, there were 20,025 collision injuries in the past five years and 3573 in 2020.
ACC recommends people slow down, take care around corners and between rooms to prevent injury.