Prevention is Key to Avoiding Lawn Mower Injuries
A Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health Release
INDIANAPOLIS –It starts off innocently. A child wanders outside while the yard is being mowed. The child approaches the unaware person mowing the yard. Suddenly, the mower turns or backs up and the child is abruptly caught underneath the mower. This is the sad reality every year and Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health is stressing caution as Hoosiers tend to their yards in the months ahead.
“The injuries we see at Riley are typically very devastating – amputations and mangled limbs – with lifelong consequences,” said Dr. Thomas Rouse of the Riley Pediatric Trauma Center at IU Health. “We’ve already seen children injured this spring and we cannot stress the importance of lawn mower safety enough.”
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), approximately 9,400 children under age 18 receive emergency care each year for lawn mower-related injuries. Although older kids and adolescents are injured more often, about one-fourth of those injuries are to children under age 5.
“Lawn mowers pose other potential dangers as well. They can kick up hidden items in the grass and project them. Mowers also get hot and can burn unassuming hands, particularly little ones,” Rouse said.
To prevent lawn mower injuries to children, Riley at IU Health and the AAP recommend the following:
- Make sure that children are indoors or at a safe distance well away from the area that you plan to mow.
- Inspect the lawn before mowing and pick up hidden objects in the grass.
- Do not pull the mower backward or mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary and carefully look for children behind you when you mow in reverse.
- Do not allow children to ride as passengers on riding mowers.
- Children under age 12 should not use walk-behind mowers.
- Children under age 16 should not be allowed to use riding mowers.
- Make sure that sturdy shoes (not sandals or sneakers) are worn while mowing.
- Have anyone who uses a mower wear hearing and eye protection.
- Try to use a mower with a control that stops the mower from moving forward if the handle is let go.
- Always turn off the mower and wait for the blades to stop completely before removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, or crossing gravel paths, roads, or other areas.
- Make sure that blade settings are done by an adult, with the mower off and the spark plug removed or disconnected.
- Start and refuel mowers outdoors, not in a garage or shed. Mowers should be refueled with the motor turned off and cool.
- Use a collection bag for grass clippings or a plate that covers the opening where cut grass is released.
To interview Dr. Thomas Rouse, please call Kit Werbe at 317.963.7692.