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It’s time to make our homes safer

Hon Maryan Street
Minister for ACC

Embargoed until
1 September, 2008 Media Statement

It’s time to make our homes safer

More New Zealanders are injured in their homes than anywhere else and a child dies from an injury caused in the home every two weeks, says ACC Minister Maryan Street.

“This is a sobering but important reminder of why we must take more injury prevention measures in our homes – and is behind ACC’s decision to make injuries in the home the focus of this year’s Safety Week.”

Maryan Street is launching New Zealand Safety Week at Papakowhai School in Porirua this morning.

“The latest ACC statistics show more New Zealanders are injured at home than anywhere else and that one in seven New Zealanders will be injured in the home each year,” Maryan Street said.

“More than 36,000 of those injuries will require hospitalisation, while 500 of those injured will die – that’s more than the number of people killed on the road and nearly five times the number killed at work. Far too many of those killed are children.

“Safety Week is part of an ongoing ACC campaign to educate New Zealanders about the risks in the home and to encourage us all to think about taking some, often quite basic, safety steps to prevent accidents.

“Changing our mindsets is an important part of taking a more precautionary approach, as research shows many New Zealanders seem to think there is little chance they personally are likely to get injured at home – in fact just 15 per cent think they will get hurt,” Maryan Street said.

“The kitchen is a particularly dangerous place and more injuries occur in kitchens than in any other household room.

“Here’s a list of what can you do to make the kitchen safer: install safety catches on cupboards where you keep dangerous objects like poisons or knives, keep cupboard doors closed so you don’t walk into them (more likely when they are hanging open), keep heavy objects in low cupboards so they don’t fall on you, use a step ladder to reach high shelves rather than a chair and mop up water and spills as soon as you see them.”

More Tips

1. Use non-slip mats in the shower and bath. Many people are injured when they slip over in the shower or bath, or on wet floors. Use a non-slip mat and mop up any water that you see.
2. Make sure your stairs are well lit and always use the handrail. Install a light switch at both ends of the stairs if they are inside. Sensor lights should be installed on outside stairs. If you haven’t got a handrail, think seriously about getting one.
3. Wear non-slip shoes or slippers on wooden floors. It’s very easy to trip on wooden floors if you are wearing socks.
4. Make sure you can see sliding glass doors. Putting a sticker on the glass is easiest, adding a frosted pane or coloured panel is another option.
5. Always play it safe with ladders. Always keep three points of contact on a ladder at all times and never overreach sideways.

More home injury facts:

• The number of people injured in the garden last year is about the same size as the population of Marlborough.
• Every week six people end up in hospital because of a lawnmower.
• Nearly 20,000 people are injured in home accidents involving a tree, bush or plant.
• Last year 63 people a day injured themselves using a tool.
• A quarter of child pedestrians who end up in hospital are run over in their own driveway.
• 560,000 New Zealand households have dangerously hot water
• Two thirds of fall victims are under 60.
• If you have three standard drinks in six hours you are 12 times more likely to fall.

For further information on Safety NZ Week and keeping safe in the home, visit


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