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Kids & Lawn Mower Injuries

2:00

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:

  • Teach and supervise teens. 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. An adult should supervise teens before they are allowed to operate a lawn mower on their own.
  • Kid-free zone. Children should never be passengers on ride-on mowers and children younger than 6 years of age should be kept indoors during mowing. Never let children play on or near a lawn mower, even when it is not in use.
  • Before you mow. Pick up any stones or other objects in the grass. Objects thrown by a lawn mower can cause severe eye and other injuries. Put on protective eyewear and make sure you are wearing sturdy shoes. 
  • While you mow. When using a walk-behind lawn mower, use a mower with a control that stops it from moving forward if the handle is released. Always mow going forward. If you absolutely have to mow in reverse, always look behind you before you start backing up.
  • Turn it off. Wait for the blades to stop completely before removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, or crossing gravel roads. 

The study was published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.

Story source: http://www.nationwidechildrens.org/news-room-articles/lawn-mower-injuries-send-13-children-to-the-emergency-department-every-day?contentid=163616

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