Parents warned over lawn mower-related injuries

31 May 2017

Parents are being urged to be cautious when mowing lawns due to a concerning number of injuries.

In a study conducted by academics at the U.S. Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital, it was found that on average, 13 children receive emergency treatment for a lawn mower-related injury each day. That adds up to almost 4800 children hurt in America each year, with the most common types of injury being cuts and burns, particularly in the legs, feet and toes.

"While we are happy to see that the number of lawn mower-related injuries has declined over the years, it is important for families to realise that these injuries still occur frequently during warm weather months," said senior study author Dr Gary Smith.

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The researchers added that bystanders and passengers were almost four times more likely than lawn mower operators to be admitted to hospital.

They also discovered that children younger than five years old are more likely than older children to be injured from touching a hot surface, from a "back-over" injury, or as a bystander or passenger.

Youngsters aged five to 17 years were more likely than younger children to be struck by or cut by the lawn mower or a projectile.

Accordingly, the researchers suggest that children should be at least 12 years old to operate a push mower and at least 16 years old before using a ride-on mower, with adult supervision.

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Kids should never be passengers on ride-on mowers and children younger than six years of age should be kept indoors during mowing, with it also advised that the blade on the machine be completely stopped before removal of grass catchers or the unclogging of discharge chutes.

"Improvements in lawn mower design during the last few decades are likely an important contributing factor in the decrease in injuries. We would like to see manufacturers continue to improve the design and include additional needed safety features on all mowers," added Dr Smith.

The full study has been published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.

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