Dr Chris Barnes is prepared for the usual Christmas injuries at Bundaberg Hospital’s emergency department.
Dr Chris Barnes is prepared for the usual Christmas injuries at Bundaberg Hospital’s emergency department. Max Fleet

Injuries spoil the season

EACH year, a combination of Christmas cheer and overly active kids excited about the holidays can prove to be a busy time for Bundaberg Hospital's emergency department.

Big kids on small kids' wheeled toys, a lack of protective equipment and incorrectly stored food can combine to wreak havoc for patients and doctors alike over the festive season.

More than 40 children with minor head injuries were taken to Bundaberg's emergency department between December 14, 2010 and January 26, 2011 last year.

Senior medical officer Dr Chris Barnes said part of the reason was because children were more active in the season and also were "testing out new toys with wheels".

"You also get dads on the toys with wheels who forget they don't bounce as well as they used to. That can also cause some problems," he said.

Dr Barnes urged kids and "big kids" to remember to wear safety gear, such as helmets, to help reduce any injuries caused by falling off things like bikes and skateboards, and safety guards for trampolines.

"Anyone who has ever worked in emergency can tell you that a helmet makes a huge difference," he said.

"The surprising thing is the number of injuries that could have been preventable."

But he said it was also important for adults to remember to practise drinking in moderation to reduce the risk of injury.

"With alcohol, people tend to climb things they shouldn't, jump off things, and generally do things they would not normally if they were sober," he said.

Dr Barnes said it was also important for those drinking to remember to put food away correctly.

"It's something we should do all year round, but people tend to get a bit lax at Christmas," he said.



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