It’s lawn-mowing season again and a recent study urges parents to make sure that their children are not part of the seasonal ritual.
The Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that 4800 children a year go the emergency room to be treated for a lawn mower related injury. On an average, that turns out to be about 13 kids a day.
The good news is that many parents and grandparents are getting the message about lawn mower safety. There has been a decrease in lawn mower injuries suffered by children in the last two decades. However, this cause for serious injuries is still a concern.
The way children are injured by lawn mowers varies by age. Children younger than five years 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. Children age 5-17 years were more likely than younger children to be struck by or cut by the lawn mower or a projectile.
The researchers suggest that to help prevent back-over injuries, which are often the most devastating lawn mower injuries to young children, every ride-on mower should be equipped with a no-mow-in-reverse mechanism with the over-ride switch for this feature located behind the operator’s seat, which forces the person operating the ride-on mower to look behind them before backing up with the blades engaged.
“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 realize that these injuries still occur frequently during warm weather months,” said Gary Smith, MD, DrPH, senior author of the study and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “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 design and include additional needed safety features on all mowers.”
Injury prevention experts recommend these rules to help prevent mower-related injuries to children and adults:
The study was published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.