christmas puppy

Food, fun, and festive fumbles

22 December 2020
3 minute read

Staying safe over the holidays means you’ll enjoy the fun and sun with your whānau, without being sidelined by injury.


Christmas pudding, presents – and injuries. The festive season in Aotearoa is a peak time for preventable injuries, so take a breather, slow down, and you'll increase your chances of staying injury-free.

From 21 December 2019 to 10 January 2020, there were 103,248 ACC claims for injuries which came at a cost of over $100m to help people recover.

The regions with the most injury claims were:

  • Auckland with 31,875
  • Waikato with 11,935
  • Canterbury with 11,438
  • Bay of Plenty with 8,445
  • Wellington with 8,103.

Kirsten Malpas, ACC Injury Prevention Leader, says the holiday season can be a stressful period and encouraged people to slow down.

"We want people to have an enjoyable, happy, fun and safe Christmas and New Year's break," she says. "That means being kind to yourself and others, and staying safe so you can enjoy the summer break and not miss out on the fun.

"Last year around 4,000 people injured themselves on Christmas Day."

What are you most looking forward to this festive season?

Agree with your thinking

Where do most injuries happen?

The home was the most common place for injuries during the holidays, with 59,967 injuries during this period. Falls made up 40% of those injuries.

Almost 15,000 injuries involved a lifting or carrying strain, more than 4,000 involved steps and stairs and almost 7,000 were animal-related.

It's also a time when people get stuck into DIY and tidying up around the home. There were 4,798 gardening-related injuries last festive season, and 2,046 DIY-related injuries.

The most common injuries were:

  • lumbar sprain with 10,163
  • neck sprain with 4,425
  • ankle sprain with 4,376.

"Most injuries over this time reflect what people are doing. For a lot of us, we're relaxing with friends and whānau, spending time at the beach or trying out a new bike we've got for Christmas," says Kirsten.

Getting a new bike from Santa?

There were 16,576 sports-related injuries in this time period.

The leading sports injuries in this period were:

  • water-related injuries with 2,413
  • cycling with 2,302
  • fitness training/gym with 1,584.

"If you've got a new bike or e-bike for Christmas and you haven't ridden in a while, try out the bike in a safe environment – somewhere with minimal traffic, such as a school playground or a quiet street, where you can hone your skills and get used to it before you go on a busier road.

"Likewise, if you've got a new mountain bike, ease into some lower-grade trails before you tackle the harder trails."

Kirsten also stressed the importance of being safe in and around the water.

Drowning is the leading cause of death in recreational activities in Aotearoa. There were 82 drowning fatalities last year, an increase of 26% from the 66 in 2018.

"If you're around the water, keep a close eye on your tamariki. Young children need to be supervised and kept within arm's reach, particularly around moving water where things can happen quickly. If you're at the beach, swim between the flags.

"Most injuries can be prevented by simply slowing down, stopping to assess the risks, and pacing yourself."

More stats

New Year’s Day had the highest number of injuries during this period with 5,614. Followed by:

  • New Year's Eve with 5128
  • Boxing Day with 4,291
  • Christmas Eve with 4,291
  • Christmas Day with 3,847.

The highest day for cost of injury for claims last summer was New Year's Eve with $5.2m. Followed by:

  • Christmas Eve with $5m
  • Boxing Day with $4.9m
  • New Year's Day with $4.8m
  • Christmas Day with $4m.

Find more of our data over on our statistics page:

Our statistics

Did you enjoy this article?