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