Lawn Mower Injuries Increasing

Lawn Mower Injuries Increasing

Lawn Mower Injuries Increasing

19 April 2006

According to a report appearing in the April edition of the Annals of Emergency Medicine, the rate of lawn mover injuries is on the rise. Approximately 80,000 people seek emergency medical treatment for lawn mover injuries each year; about half the number of people seeking hospital care for firearm injuries. Children ages 15 to 19 are at the highest risk of suffering lawn mover injuries. While there are a few common causes of these accidents, many experts are calling on lawn mover manufacturers to make their products safer for consumer use.

Lawn Mower Accidents: Causes and Injuries

According to the recent study, rocks and branches thrown by mower blades are the most common cause of lawn mover accidents. The most frequent injuries are foot-related: 34 percent are foot fractures and a close 32 percent are accidental toe amputations. Children are most likely to accidentally run over their own foot or be injured by the hot surfaces of the lawn mower.

Maybe Mowing the Lawn Not a Good Chore Afterall

The lead author of the recent study says he cringes every time he sees kids or teens mowing the lawn. “It’s not a go-cart—it’s a lawn mower with big cutting blades on it. Go get the kid a go-cart if you want them to roll around. They is no reason that somebody under 15 should be anywhere near a lawn mower,” comments Dr. David Bishai, professor of population and family health sciences at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

He argues that children should not be riding on mowers or sitting on the lawn while it is being mowed.

Among older Americans, the chief lawn mower related complaints involve symptoms such as backaches or chest pain.

We need safer Mowers

Many experts argue that better-designed lawn mowers are necessary to reduce the risk of lawn mower injuries. Dr. David Katz of Yale University’s School of Medicine notes that, “lawn mower injuries require an interaction between person and machine, and research such as this can serve to make adjustments to both.”

The most reliable way to increase the safety of mowers is to make engineering adjustments to the machines themselves. Injuries and deaths from car accidents are in decline, Katz argues, not because of more prudent human behavior, but because of increased car safety measures such as crumple zones, airbags, and harness restraints. He says mower manufacturers have a responsibility to make a safer consumer product.

Preventing Mower Accidents

Dr. Bishai offers some safety tips to prevent law mower accidents. These include:

· Wearing protective clothing such as steel-toed boots, long pants, and goggles when mowing or repairing the mower
· Keep others, especially children, away from the yard when mowing
· Clear the yard of debris before mowing the lawn
· People with history of chest, joint, or back pain should consider not mowing
· Mow only in good conditions; avoid in extreme heat and other such conditions
· Store mowers in a safe place away from children
· Do not ride mower on steep hills or embankments

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