As the weather begins to warm up and new life starts to grow, the familiar sound of lawn mowers can be heard throughout the neighborhood. Oftentimes, it is a teen who mows the lawn as a chore or to earn cash. However, lawn mowers can be very dangerous, and thousands of children suffer severe injuries from lawn mowers every year. Parents need to understand that most of the injuries from lawn mowers can be prevented by following a few simple steps.
Lawn Mower-Related Injury Facts
- More than 9,400 children 20 years of age and younger are treated in emergency departments for lawn mower-related injuries each year.
- Most of the injuries occur to boys.
- Usually the victims are older children or teens, but one in four injuries occurs to children younger than 6 years.
- Half of the injuries to children younger than 6 years are burns to the hands. This usually happens when the child touches a hot motor.
- Bystanders are also injured by lawn mowers. This can happen if the lawn mower ejects debris or if someone on a ride-on mower backs up over a child.
- Lawn mower-related injuries can be devastating. They can result in serious injuries, amputations or even death.
Common Lawn Mower-Related Injuries
- Deep cuts
- Loss of fingers, hands, toes or feet
- Broken and dislocated bones
- Eye injuries
- Soft tissue damage
- Children should be at least 12 years old to operate a push lawn 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.
- Children should never be passengers on ride-on mowers and should be kept indoors during mowing.
- Never let children play on or near a lawn mower, even if it is not in use.
- Always wear sturdy shoes when using a lawn mower – not sandals.
- Objects ejected by a lawn mower can cause severe eye and other injuries. Before mowing, pick up any stones or toys in the yard. Always wear eye protection.
- Use a mower with a control that stops it from moving forward if the handle is released.
- Do not mow in reverse. If you absolutely need to, always look behind you first.
- Wait for the blades to stop completely before removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, or crossing gravel roads.
Additional Lawn Mower Safety Information
- PubMed Abstract: Epidemiology of Lawn-Mower-Related Injuries to Children in the United States, 1990-2004 - August 2006
- PubMed Abstract: Lawn Mower-Related Injuries to Children - September 2005