Getting children to mow the lawn is a common way to teach them responsibility. But a new study found that more than 9,000 youngsters are injured in the U.S. every year while mowing the lawn.
The researchers compared pediatric-mowing injuries during a recent 10-year period with the previous 15 years. The number of children who get hurt annually hasn’t changed in more than two decades, they found.
More than a third of the injured children in the latest study, which was published in the American Journal of Surgery, were under 12 years of age, and there was a spike in injuries recorded at ages 3 and 16. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children be at least 12 years old before operating any mower and at least 16 to operate a riding or tractor-style mower.
The study, at the University of Tennessee in Memphis, used data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to identify patients age 20 and younger treated for mowing-related injuries between 2004 and 2013. The commission collects data from approximately 100 emergency departments to produce national estimates. The data were compared with an earlier review of pediatric mowing-related injuries from 1990 to 2004.
An estimated 93,508 lawn-mower injuries were recorded during the latest study, or an average of about 9,351 a year. That compares with 9,400 injuries a year reported in the earlier review. About 80% of injuries occurred in boys.
Cuts, burns, fractures, amputations and projectile injuries caused by flying objects thrown up by the mower were the most common injuries. Most injuries affected hands and fingers, followed by toes, feet, face and eyes. Many injuries were disfiguring and would become even more so as children continued to grow, the study said.