Over $300k to cure ham injuries

Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files
Standing on a stray Christmas tree decoration in bare feet, being hit in the eye by a cherry during a food fight at the dinner table, or choking on your aunt’s bone-dry Christmas cake are all common mishaps during the festive season.

But surprisingly, it is the humble Christmas ham that is responsible for most of the injuries dished out on the big day.

Accident Compensation Corporation data shows more than 500 New Zealanders have been injured by hams over the past decade — costing more than $307,000 to help them recover.

Hams are among the top six items that injure people and prompt ACC claims over the festive season.

The other five items are gifts, Christmas lights, Christmas trees, turkeys and even wrapping paper.

ACC injury prevention lead James Whitaker said overall, they caused injuries prompting 2460 ACC claims between 2013 and 2022, costing more than $2.03 million to help people recover.

Of those, 183 claims were from Otago and Southland.

Mr Whitaker said the traditional Christmas ham was one of the main lurking dangers.

The most common injuries were cuts to the finger or thumb, but strains and sprains accounted for more than one-third (35%) of these injuries also.

He said it was important to take more time when lifting and transporting frozen hams, which could be heavier than many people might think.

"If possible, avoid putting strain on your lower back.

"Ask for help if you need to, and make sure your kitchen floor is dry and clear of obstacles.

"To reduce the chance of cutting yourself, make sure you are using a sharp knife and cutting on a stable and dry surface, like a cutting board with a damp tea towel or kitchen cloth underneath to stop it slipping."

He said the lead-up to Christmas could be extremely busy with wrapping Christmas presents, decorating the tree and cooking up a storm.

So he also recommended people take care when moving, carrying or lifting a Christmas tree because ACC claims data showed that also caused a significant number of Christmas-related injuries.

"This time of year, there are also lots of festive celebrations toasting to the end of the year and the summer ahead.

"If we take the time to assess the risk in all these situations, we can avoid injuries and keep doing our favourite things with the people we love to spend time with."