Parents warned over lawn mower-related injuries

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Parents are being urged to be cautious when mowing lawns due to a concerning number of injuries. That adds up to nearly 4800 children hurt in America each year, with the most common types of injury being cuts and burns, particularly to the legs, feet and toes.

More than eight percent were serious enough to be admitted to the hospital.

Researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital found that while there has been a decrease in the number of injuries to children by lawn mowers, they are still a cause for concern with an average of 13 children being treated at the emergency room for lawn mower injuries each year. Children age 5-17 years were more likely than younger children to be struck by or cut by the lawn mower or a projectile.

The researchers added that bystanders and passengers were nearly four times more likely than lawn mower operators to be admitted to hospital. Younger children were also more likely to have back-over injuries or bystander/passenger injuries.

"We would like to see manufacturers continue to improve design and include additional needed safety features on all mowers", Smith added.

The findings suggested that children should be at least 12 years old to operate a push mower and at least 16 years old before using a ride-on mower.

Kid-free zone. Children should never be passengers on ride-on mowers and children younger than 6 years of age should be kept indoors during mowing. Shields can help keep hands and feet from getting under the mower, while also protecting the blades from large objects. To prevent back-over injuries, considered the most devastating, lawn mowers should have a no-mow-in-reverse mechanism and an over-ride switch located behind the driver's seat to force operators to look behind them.