Change of Season Brings Lawn Mower Warning

ByRobert Preidt

Mar. 23 --

SUNDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- Each year in the United States, about 9,400 children are treated for lawn-mower related injuries such as lacerations, fractures and amputations of the fingers, hands, toes, feet and legs, say experts at Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

"The No. 1 advice to parents is: Treat the lawn mower as hazardous equipment, not a toy. You don't let a child play with an electric saw, and that's exactly what a lawn mower is," Carol Gentry, pediatric OR nurse manager, said in a prepared statement.

Of the lawn mower accident cases treated at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center between 2000 and 2005, 95 percent involved amputations that required reattachment or reconstructive surgery.

The Hopkins experts offer tips for preventing mower-related injuries:

  • Children younger than age 6 should be kept indoors while a power mower is being used.
  • No child younger than age 12 should use a walk-behind mower.
  • Children under age 16 should not be on riding mowers, even if they're with an adult.
  • If you're mowing and see a child running toward you, turn off the mower immediately. Children can fall and slip into the blade, especially if the grass is wet.
  • Wear protective goggles and closed-toe shoes when operating a mower or when near one.
  • Before mowing, clear the lawn of debris such as sticks and stones, which may get caught in the mower blades and be propelled out.
  • If someone suffers a mower-related injury, call 911 immediately and apply pressure to the wound to stop bleeding while you wait for an ambulance.
  • Buy mowers with a no-reverse safety feature that requires the operator to turn around and look behind before shifting the mower into reverse.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about lawn mower safety.

SOURCE: Johns Hopkins Medicine, news release, April 9, 2007