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Are lawnmowers endangering children?

Colorado summer is finally in full swing. Swimming pools are bustling, gardens are in bloom and lawns are growing at a seemingly impossible rate. As a homeowner, you probably own a mower and find yourself trimming the lawn more than you would like. But you may want to keep this task from involving the whole family.

Data from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital shows that lawnmowers place children at risk for serious injuries. Every day, 13 children are treated for lawnmower-related accidents across the United States. What should all parents know about lawnmower accidents and safety?

How does age affect injuries?

Young children (under five years) have the highest incidence of burning themselves on a mower or experiencing a "back-over injury." Children over five have a greater chance of cutting themselves on the mower's blades or being hit by the mower.

What kinds of injuries are they sustaining?

The two most common types of injuries are burns and cuts, either from touching a hot mower, or cutting themselves on the blades. Unfortunately, cuts tend to be severe. Over half of all injuries require amputation of a hand, foot, finger or limb.

A faulty lawnmower can also cause injuries. Improper safety instructions, faulty equipment and poor manufacturing can all cause significant accidents.

What can parents do to keep kids safe?

The safest course of action is to keep your children inside the house when you mow the lawn. Many of the documented injuries occurred to children who were in the yard playing while a family member mowed the lawn.

It is recommended that children do not handle the lawn mower until they are at least 12 years old. Teach your children about the dangers of lawnmowers. They should know to keep away from the mower, both when it is in and out of use. While these safety tips cannot prevent all injuries, they are a step in the right direction.

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