Beware of this serious summer hazard

The research, conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati, should bring a heightened level of vigilance for many parents.

About 5,000 children get treated yearly for lawn mower-related injuries, according to a study published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.

The study showed that children under age 5 are most likely to be backed over or burned. Older children and teens are struck or cut by the mower or a projectile. In all, 8% of injuries required admission to a hospital. A child standing nearby or riding as a passenger on a mower was four times more likely to end up hospitalized than those operating one.

“We see quite a few lawn mower-related injuries each summer,” says Dr. Charles Nozicka, an emergency medicine physician at Advocate Children’s Hospital-Park Ridge. “Some can be quite serious, including amputations, as well as severe burns and cuts.”

Experts offer these tips to keep children safe:

  1. Children under age 6 should be kept indoors while the lawn is being mowed.
  2. Always mow forward to reduce the risk of backing over someone while moving in reverse.
  3. Watch for stray items like rocks and sticks that can become projectiles while mowing.
  4. Make sure the blade is off while traveling over gravel.
  5. Parents should train and supervise the use of any mower by a young person.
  6. Only children age 12 and older should push a mower, and only those age 16 and older should operate a riding mower.

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