Summer Safety Series Part I: Children’s Safety
A new study published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine documents that at least 13 children are sent to the hospital each day because they sustain injuries from lawnmowers. The data, compiled by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, shows that nearly 5,000 children get hurt every year. The study’s authors look to tackle this health crisis through safety tips and recommendations, as well as working to decrease the amount of serious injuries to children.
The majority of the injuries are burns and cuts, primarily to the hands, fingers, toes and feet. Although most children who are injured by lawnmowers did not need additional medical attention, the study found that almost 10% of those injured needed to be admitted to hospitals to receive further medical care.
Being a bystander as someone uses a push or ride-on mower can be even more dangerous, the report found. Statistics show that bystanders are nearly 4 times more likely to be injured than the person operating a lawnmower. This is because if a lawnmower runs over an object, like a large rock, it can cause serious projectile injuries. Because projectile injuries can be fairly common, wearing protective gear such as safety goggles can help limit the chances of sustaining a serious eye injury.
One of the study’s leading authors urges lawnmower manufacturers to continue to improve product designs, ensuring that as many models as possible come equipped with comprehensive safety features. Many lawnmowers come with shields, which are used to protect the operator from projectiles as well as making sure that people’s hands or feet do not get stuck under the vehicle.
Ride-on mowers, which are larger and lack the same amount of visibility that push mowers have, are often the culprits in “back-over” injuries. For this reason, it is particularly important for operators of ride-mowers to always look behind them before they drive in reverse. Even for smaller push mowers it is important to be cautious before reversing.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has certain safety guidelines for children before they operate a lawnmower. The AAP recommends that a child be at least 12-years-old before they use a regular push-mower, and at least 16-years-old before using a ride-mower. The AAP also stresses the importance of parents teaching their children how to safely operate lawnmowers, as well as always making sure to supervise them when they are using one. For younger children, the AAP recommends that parents or caregivers make sure they are not near a lawnmower before using it.
The study compiled five main lawnmower safety tips to help prevent lawnmower injuries. We have compiled the five tips below.
Lawnmower Safety Tips
Check the ground for objects like rocks, toys, and large sticks before you mow;
Supervise teenagers if they are using a lawnmower;
Make sure that children under 6-years-old are inside and safe while a lawnmower is in use;
Mow going forward. If you have to mow in reverse, make sure you look behind you; and,
Make sure that the mower is completely turned off and that the blades are not moving before you try to clean or unclog it.
To read more about lawnmower safety, please click here: http://www.ajc.com/news/lawn-mowers-are-sending-nearly-children-the-hospital-every-day/HY8zJ2YIqxJPkarfiQk40N/. The authors of the study note that some push mowers come with a safety control option that allows an operator to release a handle, stopping the mower from continuing to go forwards. The study recommends that consumers use lawnmowers that come with the most safety features possible, so that if something unexpected happens, the chances for an injury are lessened.
If you are concerned about keeping your child or teenager safe, please visit this website to read the AAP’s guidelines: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/suppl/2008/02/25/107.6.1480.DC1/p2_1480.pdf.
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