Two hundred and fifty New Zealanders are killed each year and thousands more are hurt because of injuries suffered at home, research shows.

A report by the University of Otago in Wellington shows thousands of Kiwis are put in hospital each year for minor and serious injuries received at home.

Those include children hurting themselves while playing outside, elderly people getting hurt while gardening and others having major falls.

The social costs of those injuries suffered in the home came to around $13 billion each year.

Dr Michael Keall, of the university's department of public health, said people often saw their homes as being relatively safe.

However, people still needed to make sure that various parts of the home were secure - such as handrails on staircases.

"Injuries come about from children playing, such as on trampolines, they come about from people gardening. For instance, there seem to be quite a few injuries where people are stung by insects and the injury later gets infected," Dr Keall said. "And there are lots of injuries which reflect what people do in their homes, such as injuries like people falling over in bathrooms and back injuries. It's such a wide range."

A total of 17,598 people needed hospital treatment after a serious injury at home in 2007. In the same year, 649,187 were treated for minor injuries.

The high social cost of injuries suffered in the home is a result of thousands of people being admitted to hospital each year.

The $13 billion figure was huge compared with road injury costs, which the Ministry of Transport estimates to be about $3.84 billion each year.

Dr Keall said more measures were needed to ensure homes were structurally secure, and homeowners themselves needed to either change their behaviour or install various safety measures to make their living environment safer.

Small acts like laying bathmats in the bathroom and shower, installing smoke alarms and attaching safety nets on trampolines would minimise the risk of injury.

"Most people think of their homes as being relatively safe and in a way they are safe.

"It's just that we spend a lot of time at home," Dr Keall said.

"More than 75 per cent of our lives are spent in the home environment and it's more so with young children and older people."

The research was published in the international journal Accident Analysis and Prevention.