More than half of children injured in lawn mower accidents require an amputation of some sort, according to a study released March 1.
Researchers combing through data involving 199 children injured in lawn mower accidents in Pennsylvania found that 106 of those kids — or 53 percent — needed to undergo an amputation, such as removal of a finger or toe. The study was released at the 2016 meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The lawn mower injuries happened between 2002 and 2013 among kids up to age 18.
“We have to find a way to stop kids from being around mowers,” says Dr. Douglas Armstrong, lead author of the study and director of pediatric orthopaedic surgery at the Penn State Hershey Pediatric Bone and Joint Institute. “Many parents don’t realize that the blade is such a forceful, blunt instrument — even if it is hidden under the mower.”
Among other findings of the study:
- Boys accounted for 81 percent of the injuries.
- 55 percent of the injuries involved a riding mower.
- 91 percent of the injuries occurred between April and September.
- Injuries often occurred when adults didn’t realize children were around a mower.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends children be at least 12 years old before operating a push mower and 16 years old before using a riding lawn mower.
In 2010, more than 235,000 adults and 17,000 children in the U.S. were injured by lawn mowers, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Boys sustain 80 percent of lawn mower injuries, which usually happen on the arms or hands.