The summer holiday season for most is an opportunity to spend time with loved ones and enjoy some well-deserved rest and relaxation. Though, this time of year has a dark side hidden by all those Christmas carols, tinsel and fun. It’s one of the most dangerous times of year, so will you stay safe this holiday season?
Statistically speaking, this time of year could be considered the most at-risk time of the year for personal injuries. So what do the stats look like?
During the holiday season Australian hospitals have historically recorded dramatic increases in admissions for the following –
- 25% increase in trauma injuries (broken bones/lacerations);
- 50% increase in presentations with alcohol related injuries (alcohol poisoning, trauma, and assaults);
- 50% increase in drug use (both legal and illicit); and
- 5% increase in cardiac arrests that result in death.
Also, an increase in heat related injuries (dehydration/fainting usually associated with the elderly) and insect and/or animal bites through an increased interaction with nature (camping, outdoor sports) and via wildlife entering homes is common.
The greatest at-risk period for deaths by cardiac arrest in the calendar year is the seasonal holiday period consisting of Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. It has been observed that an increase of approximately 5% occurs for these 3 days of the calendar year!
Initial studies conducted in the northern hemisphere had attributed a likely cause of the increase to the cold weather of that time of year. This was somewhat debunked when a study conducted for the same time frame of the year in the southern hemisphere was consistent with the findings. Increased stress at this time of year has been observed to be a consistent contributing factor across both studies (think…mother in law visiting…;) ).
Some other hazards to be aware of at this time of year include:
- Injuries in children due to new toys;
- Food poisoning from food being exposed to the warmer weather; and
- Drownings due to increased exposure to water.
A sobering fact is that for the Australian summer period (1 December 2020 to the end of February 2021), 86 people lost their life by way of drowning. This figure is an increase of 30% from the previous year.
The Royal Lifesaving Summer Drowning Report states that of those 86 persons, 80% are male. This dramatic imbalance is a constant when reviewing drowning figures historically. It appears that males are at an increased risk for drownings in Australia.
The following is a breakdown of the 86 people into age groups:
- 13 persons aged 0 – 17 years;
- 25 persons aged 18 – 34 years;
- 34 persons aged 35 – 64 years;
- 9 persons aged 65+; and
- 5 persons were unknown.
It is sad to discover that a large proportion of these deaths attributed to drowning are understood to have been preventable. The following are some tips to aid in staying safe around water:
- Never swim alone – regardless of your abilities;
- Supervise children;
- Don’t play breath holding games;
- Always wear a life vest;
- Check conditions;
- Enter the water feet first;
- Stay away from pool drains;
- Stay within designated swimming areas;
- Avoid alcohol and swimming; and
- Learn CPR and first aid.
If you need safety support in the new year, Big Yellow Safety has the WHS Consultant to assist. Contact us on 07 5655 4047 or book an introductory session.
Stay safe this holiday season!
From the Big Yellow Safety team.