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Yikes! Lawn Mowers Send 13 Kids to the ER Every Day

A new study highlights the importance of practicing lawn mower safety around kids this summer. We've got five tips for keeping them safe.

Man Using Lawn Mower Loban Alex/Shutterstock
Would you believe lawn mowers send an average of 13 kids to the emergency room every day? That's the scary statistic from a new report out of Nationwide Children's Hospital.

The good news? Overall, lawn mower-related accidents involving kids are decreasing. But 4,800 children are still hurt by lawn mowers each year, according to the recent study published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.

Researchers say cuts are the most common injuries, while burns are also a concern. Little hands and fingers are the most commonly injured body parts, followed by the legs, feet, and toes.

Luckily, most kids are treated and released after a lawn mower injury, but more than 8 percent were serious enough to be admitted to the hospital, the study finds.

I'll admit I had no idea lawn mowers could be so dangerous for kids! My hubby just kind of takes care of our lawn, and I don't get involved. But the report finds that bystanders and passengers are almost four times more likely than operators (A.K.A. parents) to be admitted to the hospital.

The research also notes that how a child is injured by a lawn mower depends largely on his or her age. Kiddos younger than 5 are more likely to get burned touching a hot surface of the appliance, or from a "back-over" injury. Kids older than 5 are more likely to be struck by, or cut by the lawn mower or a projectile.

Gary Smith, MD, DrPH, senior author of the study, said in a press release, "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."

Here are some safety tips to keep in mind to prevent lawn mower injuries:

  • Kids should be at least 12 years old to operate a push mower, and at least 16 before operating a ride-on mower. An adult should supervise teens before they are allowed to operate a lawn mower on their own.
  • Kids should never be passengers on ride-on mowers. It's a good idea to keep kids younger than 6 indoors while mowing. Of course, never allow kids to play on, or near a lawn mower, even when it is not in use.
  • Before mowing, pick up stones, sticks, or other objects in the grass. According to the research, objects thrown by a lawn mower can cause severe eye and other injuries. Adults and teens should put on protective eye wear and sturdy shoes to mow.
  • Use mowers with safety controls; a push mower should feature a control that stops it from moving forward if the handle is released. Always mow in a forward direction. Look behind you if you ever need to back up.
  • Wait for the blades to stop completely before removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, or crossing gravel roads.

Check out other common summer safety hazards here.

Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and soon-to-be mom of 4. Find her on Facebook and Instagram where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of yoga.