Dangers lurk beneath the Christmas tree...

11:58 am on 21 December 2015

It's the thought that counts with Christmas presents, but some of the gifts that may be under your tree this year should come with health warnings.

Drones, hoverboards and trampolines are all expected to be popular gifts this year, but if not used correctly, they have the potential to do serious damage.

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Photo: 123rf.com

So-called "hoverboards" or self-balancing electric scooters are one of this Christmas's hottest gifts - quite literally, with some overheating and catching on fire.

Consumer New Zealand chief executive Sue Chetwin said when buying hoverboards, it was crucial to be picky.

"They do seem to have a problem with the batteries, if the batteries are cheap and often Chinese-made," Ms Chetwin said.

"So if you are thinking about getting a hoverboard, you need to look for one that has the RCM or C tick - that means it will have a safe lithium battery in it. Well, as safe as those batteries can be."

A man on his hoverboard on the Venice Beach boardwalk. AFP PHOTO/ FREDERIC J. BROWN

Hoverboards are the hot item on many holiday lists Photo: AFP

It's not just the Christmas gifts that can hurt - ACC figures show the majority of accidents around the holiday period involve falls in the home.

Last year more than 11,000 ACC claims were made over Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, totalling over $8 million.

And accidents at home were likely to be the biggest insurance expense this holiday period.

While most people think of burglary as one of the risks when they go away on holiday, home and content claims were only worth 10 percent of AA Insurance's business.

Accidental damage came in at 40 percent - things like the cat tipping over the Christmas tree, which tips over the television - a spokesperson said.

While the great outdoors beckons for alfresco dining or sitting around fire pits and braziers, the insurer suggested that people use common sense to avoid accidental damage to property, especially as foliage can be tinder-dry during summer.

St John director of clinical operations Norma Lane said the organisation was preparing for a busy season ahead and was urging people to be prepared.

The worst cases St John staff attended often involved small batteries that come with toys that children could swallow, Ms Lane said.

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Beware what dangers could lurk beneath the wrapping... Photo: 123rf.com

She wanted parents to get the message that care needed to be taken over the holiday period, especially with small objects and things like batteries.

"Because obviously we all know the living room... once you start unpacking presents, small objects etcetera are a hazard," Ms Lane said.

The US Federal Aviation Authority estimated there would be a million drones sitting wrapped up under American Christmas trees this year, and New Zealand's Civil Aviation Authority expected drones to be popular gifts here too.

Rex Kenny, Civil Aviation Authority's manager of special flight operations and recreational aviation, said people needed to follow aviation rules with drones.

"If you're a parent and you're thinking about buying your young child a drone for Christmas, think about what you'd do if you were buying them their first pushbike," said the Civil Aviation Authority's manager special flight operations and recreational aviation Rex Kenny.

"You'd want them to at least know enough about the road code so they didn't get run over on the roads, and you need to do the same with the drone," Mr Kenny said.

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