Don’t be a statistic this holiday season

‘Tis the season for family, celebration and plenty o’ merriment so let’s make sure the holidays aren’t spent in hospital, says Minister for ACC Iain Lees-Galloway.

“Unfortunately more Kiwis spend time in hospital or are hurt during the festive season than at other times of the year, so we really need to celebrate safely this summer,” says Mr Lees-Galloway.

“ACC received 3,754 claims for injuries on Christmas Day alone at a cost of $2.8 million, and through last summer’s holiday period close to $100,000 was spent on treatment for accidents relating to Christmas trees, nearly $50,000 for Christmas lights accidents and eight claims were made for wine cork injuries.

“A wine cork injury, normally caused by someone catching a flying cork in their eye, easily puts a stop to the fun for both the catcher who could lose sight in one eye, and their friends or family who will probably spend some time with them in A&E.

“The holiday season is a time to relax and enjoy yourself with friends and whanau, but for obvious reasons a little too much Christmas cheer can lead to increased risk of injury.

“So please be careful, be aware of the dangers and especially keep an eye on kids at a time when the BBQs are steaming hot, toys are strewn around the floors and the wine corks are flying.

“ACC’s no-fault support of Kiwis for nearly 50 years is a national taonga, but no one wants to be accessing this – particularly at this time of year.

“No other country in the world has ever provided a comprehensive ‘no fault’ accident insurance scheme like ACC, so for whatever reason, if you need to access support this Christmas you’ll can at least be thankful for ACC,” says Mr Lees-Galloway.

Christmas Day injuries (all claims)

Accident Date Claim Count Active Costs*
25/12/2016 3,754 $2,831,349

Festive season injuries in December 2016

Accident Description Claim Count Active Costs*
Christmas Trees 137 $93,413
Christmas Lights 45 $48,679
Christmas Presents 20 $5,141
Roast Dinners 7 $5,209
Wine Cork 8 $741


Tips for staying safe over the Christmas period:

People are more likely to fall and injure themselves during the summer months. That’s because most of us take our main holidays over the Christmas and New Year period, when we tend to spend more time at home, and often take on DIY and gardening projects. With that in mind, here are some tips for staying safe …

Christmas at home

  • Use a step ladder to hang decorations, not a chair … or worse still, a chair on a table.
  • Check that Christmas lights are in good working condition … before you hang them up
  • If you’re putting lights up outside, make sure you use a Residual Current Device (RCD).
  • Ensure your Christmas tree has a sturdy base to stop it toppling over
  • If your tree has lights, run the power cord to it along the wall, not across the floor
  • Remember some guests may be unfamiliar with your house, so:
  • Reduce trip hazards by removing loose rugs, small items of furniture, toys, and mattresses, etc.
  • The kitchen is always busy – keep cupboard doors closed.
  • Wipe up spills as soon as they happen.
  • Point out hazards that you may be familiar with, but which could trip up visitors, such as single steps between rooms.
  • Make sure visitors know where the light switches are if they get up in the night, or leave a hall light on for them.
  • Keep pets out from under people’s feet – every year a significant number are injured tripping over cats and dogs.

If you’re drinking alcohol

  • Remember: The more you drink, the greater the risk of injury.
  • Set a limit on your drinking and stick to it.
  • Eat substantial food, and pace yourself with water or other non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Look after your mates.

Keeping active

  • Warm up and cool down before and after physical activity.
  • If returning to activity after a break, gradually build up your activity levels.
  • Keep well hydrated.


  • Be realistic about your ability – if you can’t do it, get an expert.
  • Use a safe, stable ladder – always keep three points of contact, e.g. two feet and one hand, and don’t over-reach sideways.
  • Make sure you know how to use hire equipment.
  • Wear appropriate protection, such as closed shoes, ear muffs, safety glasses and face masks, as necessary.
  • Plan your schedule so you’re not rushing to get the job finished at the end of the day when you’re tired and more likely to slip up.