According to a recent study published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, between the years of 1990 and 2004, more than 140,000 kids made trips to U.S. emergency rooms due to lawn mower accidents — almost 9,400 visits annually. The average age of the injured children was 10.7 years, and 78% were boys. Most typically, injuries included lacerations, burns, eye damage, soft tissue damage and bone fractures.
Though the authors of the study call for increased regulation of lawn mower manufacturers, there is much you can do at home to prevent lawn mower injuries. If you’ll be handing your lawn mowing responsibilities over to a teen this summer, consider this advice, compiled jointly by the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and The American Society of Plastic Surgeons:
- “Children should be at least 12 years old before they operate any lawn mower, and at least 16 years old for a ride-on mower.
- Children should never be passengers on ride-on mowers.
- Always wear sturdy shoes while mowing – not sandals.
- Young children should be at a safe distance from the area you are mowing.
- Before mowing, pick up stones, toys and debris from the lawn to prevent injuries from flying objects.
- Always wear eye and hearing protection.
- Use a mower with a control that stops it from moving forward if the handle is released.
- Never pull backward or mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary – carefully look for others behind you when you do.
- Start and refuel mowers outdoors – not in a garage. Refuel with the motor turned off and cool.
- Blade settings should be set by an adult only.
- Wait for blades to stop completely before removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, or crossing gravel roads.”
If you or a family member believe that you have a case involving personal injury or a defective product, please contact us on-line at Regan Zambri & Long or call us at (202) 753-4272 for a free consultation. If you would like to receive our complimentary electronic newsletter, please click here.