Any grass at your house? Well, about this time of the year, we can get a little complacent with lawn mower safety. And that can spell disaster. A recently published study from the American Journal of Surgery found that pediatric-mowing injuries haven’t changed much over the last 20 years, meaning we haven’t learned anything from the past.
The average injury rate is about 9400 mowing injuries per year, with 80% occurring in boys. The most common injuries are cuts, burns, fractures, amputations and projectile injuries caused by the mower throwing objects. The most affected body areas included hands and fingers, then toes, feet, face and eyes. Disfiguring injuries worsened, as the children aged.
About 7% of kids were admitted into the hospital with about a third of those having an amputation. More than 20% of injuries occurred on ride-on mowers. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends kids be at least 12 years of age to operate any mower and at least 16 years of age to operate a riding or tractor-style mower.
Perhaps one of the worst things I see is when a well-meaning parent or grandparent holds a young child while mowing. It becomes a dad-daughter or grandpa-grandson activity. Few things could be more dangerous. At some time, the little child may see grandpa on the mower and run out to be picked up… but grandpa may not see or even be thinking about the child…. before it’s too late.
Riding mowers that I’ve seen are NOT designed for a riding little person, so it is safest to NEVER let the child ride or play or even be around the mower. So, don’t let a special child of yours be a statistic with lawn mower accidents. Give that kid a hug.