Since Covid-19 hit our shores, New Zealanders have changed the way we live and work and ACC is stressing the importance of keeping our bubbles a safe place.
"We want people to be doing the things that they love at home," says the Head of Injury Prevention at ACC, Isaac Carlson. "But we also want to collectively change our mindset on preventing injury so we can get through this period without serious injury."
Injury can have life-changing impacts – for those who sustain the injury, their whānau and society. Every day ACC receives around 5000 claims. That's 5000 families and communities impacted by injury every day.
There were 4.9 million claims for injuries around the home accepted by ACC from 2016 to 2020, which cost $5.6 billion to help people recover.
In 2020, there were just over one million claims accepted, which came at a cost of $1.4 billion to help people recover, an increase of $143 million from 2019.
The cost and the number of home injuries in 2020 was the highest in the past five years in New Zealand.
Carlson recognises it's a challenging time for many New Zealanders but stresses the importance of keeping safe during lockdown.
On average, one in five New Zealanders will injure themselves in their home every year which is something that ACC wants to change.
"We're challenging all New Zealanders to 'Have a Hmmm'. Take a moment to think about what you're about to do and what could go wrong to prevent injury," he says.
Taking a pause for a few seconds can save days, weeks, months or a lifetime of harm and hurt – for the person and others.
Carlson recommends making small and simple behaviour changes in your bubble: tidying up toys, keeping floors clear of cables and other items, wiping up any spills immediately, ensuring everyone knows how to safely interact with animals and what to do if they see a hazard.
Here are the seven ways New Zealanders are hurting themselves at home.
• 1. Falls
Falls are often attributed to older age groups but they happen at any age. The most affected age group for fall injuries at home from 2016-2020 was 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. There were 338,000 claims for falls injuries in 2020, the highest in the past five years.
In the past five years there were 177,701 new claims for fall injuries at home in Waikato, and there were 37,468 falls injuries at home in 2020, the highest in the past five years.
Though falls are the most common injury at home, they are also the most preventable.
Safekids Aotearoa have 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.
• 2. Lifting and Carrying
Lifting and carrying injuries occur 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 a lifting or carrying injury, and they're most commonly injuring their lower back.
With more than 620,000 new claims in the past five years, both how we lift and how much we're lifting really affects our health. There were 140,000 lifting and carrying injury claims accepted in 2020, the highest in the past five years.
In Waikato in the past five years there were 62,319 injuries caused by lifting and carrying. In 2020 in Waikato there were 13,971 lifting/carrying injuries at home, the highest from this period.
• 3. Animal-related
Children from 0-9 years old lead this injury and are most commonly suffering bites and scratches from their cuddly companions.
ACC accepted over 325,000 new claims for animal-related injuries at home over the last five years and our young ones are learning how to build a relationship with their furry friends the hard way. There were over 60,000 animal-related injury claims accepted in 2020.
In Waikato, there were 37,948 animal related injury claims at home over the past five years and 7195 injury claims of this nature in 2020.
Use lockdown as a chance to teach how to interact safely with animals in your home.
• 4. Gardening
Kiwis love to get in the garden all year round and lockdowns are a great chance to tidy up the backyard.
In the past five years there were 313,000 gardening related injuries, with the number of gardening injuries in 2020 (65,000) the highest from this period.
The 60-69 year-old age group are most commonly injured in the garden, and they're hurting their lower back the most.
In Waikato there were 36,982 gardening injuries at home in the past five years with 7539 in 2020, the highest from the past five years
• 5. Punctures and cuts
Punctures are the fifth most common injury at home; one that many of us know well is the knife cut.
Over the past five years there were 298,000 puncture injury claims accepted, with over 75,000 in 2020. This was the highest in the past five years.
In Waikato, there were 37,380 puncture injuries in the past five years and 8616 in 2020, the highest for this period.
Our fingers and thumbs are most commonly injured, and the kids who are having a go in the kitchen are the ones hurting themselves the most from ages 0-9.
• 6. Twisting movement
Putting our back out is a common injury, and for the 50-59 year-olds this happens a lot in the lower back.
There have been over 282,000 new claims for twisting injuries over the last five years, with 57,000 twisting injury claims in 2020.
In Waikato there have been 31,745 twisting injuries over this period, with 6091 in 2020.
ACC recommends taking a moment to think about the consequences of pushing your body too far.
• 7. Collision/knocked over
During lockdown it is common for children to run around the house and collide into objects or walls.
There were more than 250,000 injury claims accepted for collisions around the home with over 47,000 in 2020.
Children, in the 0-9 year-olds 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 over 250,000 new claims for collision injuries in New Zealand.
In Waikato there were 29,782 collision injuries in the past five years and 5214 in 2020.
ACC recommends that we slow down and take care around corners and between rooms to prevent injury.