Children face ‘alarming’ risk of lawn mower injuries, researchers say

lawn mower

Photo: MariuszBlach/iStockphoto

Orlando, FL – Despite warnings and safety designs, children are still being injured by lawn mowers at an “alarming” rate, according to preliminary findings presented March 1 at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ annual meeting.

Researchers from the Penn State Hershey Pediatric Bone and Joint Institute reviewed 12 years of data on lawn mower-related injuries in Pennsylvania. They found that although efforts to educate parents and children about lawn mower dangers have increased, about 16 children are still injured every year in the commonwealth. Of the 199 children who were treated for injuries during the study period, about half suffered injuries serious enough to require an amputation, according to the study, which has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

“We have to find a way to stop kids from being around mowers,” lead study author Douglas Armstrong, director of the institute’s pediatric orthopaedic surgery, said in a press release. “Many parents don’t realize that the blade is such a forceful, blunt instrument – even if it is hidden under the mower.”

To prevent potential injuries, AAOS recommends:

  • Only using mowers that have protection over hot and sharp parts
  • Keeping children indoors while grass is being cut
  • Barring children younger than 12 from operating lawn mowers
  • Prohibiting children younger than 16 from operating riding mowers
  • Always wearing sturdy shoes and eye and hearing protection when cutting grass

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