Preventing lawn mowing injuries
Nice weather means it’s time to keep up your yard, and more importantly keep up with your child. Especially, while mowing the lawn.
Each year approximately 68,000 persons with injuries caused by power mowers were treated in emergency departments. More than 9,000 of the people hurt were younger than 18 years. At Cook Children’s, we see these injuries every summer.
Lawn mowing injuries can be severe, including amputations, broken and dislocated bones, burns and eye injuries.
“Lawn mower injuries are easy to stop, just don’t let children be outside if the mower is on, said Sharon Evans, Cook Children’s Trauma Injury Prevention/Outreach coordinator. “If the child is young there needs to be an adult inside the house supervising them. If the child and/or adult has to go outside there should be the rule that they signal, call or whatever to get the rider’s attention and then the rider turns off the mower as soon as possible before anyone approaches it. The rule should be the same for older children too.”
To prevent lawn mower injuries to children, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following:
- Use a mower with a control that stops the mower from moving forward if the handle is let go.
- Children younger than 16 years should not be allowed to use ride-on mowers. Children younger than 12 years should not use walk-behind mowers.
- Make sure that sturdy shoes (not sandals or sneakers) are worn while mowing.
- Prevent injuries from flying objects, such as stones or toys, by picking up objects from the lawn before mowing begins. Use a collection bag for grass clippings or a plate that covers the opening where cut grass is released. Have anyone who uses a mower wear hearing and eye protection.
- If the lawn mower is on, make sure all children are not outside and are safely inside.
- Start and refuel mowers outdoors, not in a garage or shed. Mowers should be refueled with the motor turned off and cool.
- Make sure that blade settings (to set the wheel height or dislodge debris) are done by an adult, with the mower off and the spark plug removed or disconnected.
- Do not pull the mower backward or mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary, and carefully look for children behind you when you mow in reverse.
- Always turn off the mower and wait for the blades to stop completely before removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, or crossing gravel paths, roads, or other areas.
- Do not allow children to ride as passengers on ride-on mowers.