12:58am Friday 13 December 2019

Lawn mower related injuries on the rise among children

Doctors at University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital recommend that parents use extra precaution when operating lawn mowers. With the summer just underway, five children have been treated for serious injuries caused by lawn mowers. U-M doctors typically see 2-3 cases like this each summer.

Several cases have involved the child being run over by a riding mower backing up when the operator did not see the child approach the area. Injuries also happen when children are passengers on riding mowers.

Last year, 253,000 people were treated for lawn mower-related injuries, nearly 17,000 of them children under age 19, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

“Lawn mower injuries to children are easily preventable,” said Amy Teddy, Injury Prevention Program Manager at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. “Children should remain inside the house or under the direct supervision of another adult whenever a lawn mower is being used. Children are unpredictable and may wander into the path of the mower.”

Many lawn mower-related injuries require a team of physicians from various specialties to properly repair them. Often, patients must endure painful reconstructive operations for months, sometimes years, to restore form and function.

“I’ve seen broken and dislocated bones, deep cuts, missing fingers and toes, limb amputations, burns, and eye injuries from lawn mower accidents,” said Dr. Peter Ehrlich, M.D., Associate Professor of Surgery and Director of Pediatric Trauma. “All of these cases have one thing in common, that they were all avoidable.”

“The dangers are very real, but very preventable,” adds Teddy. “Always make sure your children are at a safe distance and that they don’t operate a mower until they are old enough to control the machine.”

To prevent lawn mower injuries, doctors at the Mott Pediatric Trauma Program suggest:

• 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.
• Young children should remain inside when a lawn mower is being used.
• Pick up stones, toys and debris from the lawn to prevent injuries from flying objects.

“We want parents and kids to be more aware of precautions to take so that injuries can be prevented,” concludes Teddy.

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The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is consistently ranked as one of the best hospitals in the country. It was nationally ranked in all ten pediatric specialties in the U.S. News Media Group’s 2011 edition of “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals” including third in the country for heart and heart surgery. In November, the hospital moves to a new 1.1 million square feet, $754 million state-of-the-art facility that will be home to cutting-edge specialty services for newborns, children and women.

Written by Lauren McLeod

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