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Keep safe this summer

We are all looking forward to a well-earned summer break.

While having sufficient health insurance, income insurance and life insurance in place is a vital safety net, it pays to put some effort into not needing to use them. This means whatever your holiday plans, it is important to be aware of what you can do to keep yourself and your family safe.

Last summer ACC received almost 500,000 claims from December to February, and paid out over $300,000,000. And it is hard to think of a more frustrating or disappointing time of year to be side-lined.

Summer comes with unique hazards, so here are our top tips for keeping safe.

Children

There are some extra hazards for our littlest people over the summer holiday period. We don’t recommend wrapping them in cotton wool, and giving them some freedom is great for confidence building, but being aware of the hazards makes them easier to avoid.

  • Who is watching the kids? When you have a large group of friends and family together it can be so easy to assume someone else is watching the children. The simple act of communicating “I’m popping inside now, so you are in charge of watching the children,” can literally be a lifesaver.
  • All parents know that driveways are a major hazard for children. But over summer there is a lot more coming and going, different people looking after the children (including some who may have forgotten just how fast a toddler can move), and time spent in different houses without the safe set-up and routines of home. If you are visiting a house with children, or someone is visiting you with theirs, make sure you know where everyone is before any car moves.
  • Water. Swimming in the pool, a lake, a river, or the sea is such an integral part of summer for kiwi kids. Watersafe has great tips for whatever your chosen activity. Remember supervise children at all times, know the nature of the water before you enter (how deep, the current etc.) and know your child’s limits.

 

Food poisoning

With the festive season coinciding with summer, you need to take special care when preparing, cooking, and storing food. Summer brings warm moist conditions – the ideal environment for pathogens to multiply quickly and cause food poisoning. Follow the clean, cook, cover and chill rules; and take extra care, especially when barbecuing.

The Ministry for Primary Industries reports that about 200,000 new Zealanders get food poisoning every year. They also have some great tips on their website for avoiding it.

 

Exercise

Whether the panic of impending swimsuit season after a cosy winter of inactivity, or a New Year’s resolution to get fit, summer sees plenty of people leaping unprepared into a new exercise regimen.

While we think getting fit is a great idea, it pays to be sensible about it to avoid injury – which also increases your chances of meeting your goals.

  • If you have any pre-existing health conditions or injuries, you need to speak to your GP or physio before you start a new exercise programme.
  • Start gradually; don’t try and make your first run in five years 10 kilometres. Starting slowly not only reduces your chance of injury, but increases the likelihood you’ll do it again.
  • Warm up. This is a key feature of staying injury free. ACC Sportsmart has some good warmups, check them out here.
  • And to help you stay on track, make a programme, stick to it and mix it up with different exercises.

 

DIY

Kiwis just love to indulge in a spot of DIY around the home or bach during the summer holidays. And ACC hears a lot about it when things don’t go quite according to plan.

Read their quick checklist here on how to keep yourself safe while improving your surroundings.

 

Driving

Time with the in-laws isn’t the worst hazard of a summer road trip. AA has four key tips on their website for safe driving.

Most pertinent to summer road trips are minimising distractions, which means putting some thought into keeping kids entertained and fed, and being aware of your own tiredness. This takes planning; when you will travel, who will drive and when you will take breaks.

Share the load and be aware of when you are starting to struggle. There is no harm in stopping for an impromptu ice cream or brief walk on the beach, to wake yourself up and give your passengers a break too.

 

Remember to slip, slop slap and wrap and have wonderful – and safe – summer. Your adviser is available to you on mobile for emergencies and we look forward to working with you again in the new year.

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