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Lawn mower accidents common with children

Doctors at the University of Missouri Children’s Hospital are reminding parents how to be safe while mowing the lawn.

The hospital has already seen two serious lawn mower-related injuries to children. Doctors expect more injuries as the summer months continue.

“The injuries children suffer with are often not salvageable injuries,” said Dr. Sumit Gupta. “The wounds come in really dirty and once they have been dramatized that much, you really can’t do much to reconstruct the body parts. So it’s not uncommon for whatever body part is injured will have to be amputated at some point.”

He said a common age group for injuries are teenagers operating a push lawn mower. However, he sees many accidents with young children as well.

“In fact, a lot of the children are quite young and it’s very common to get injuries in children less than 5 years of age,” he said.

Gupta said injuries to young children are from them sitting on an adult’s lap on a riding lawn mower. He said accidents from riding lawn mowers are more common and more severe.

“Younger children tend to be impulsive, try to jump off and just flail around a lot,” he said. It’s very common that they’ll fall off and get stuck underneath the plates.”

“They have one seat for a reason and that’s because they’re only meant for one person to be on,” said Sheila Robertson, Safe Kids Coordinator at the Children’s Hospital. “Sometimes adults think it’s okay to go ahead and give their children rides on the lawn mowers, but that’s not the case. The can still tip over, the children can fall off the lawn mower and tragic things will occur.”

Robertson recommends children stay inside while adults are mowing the lawn.

“Even if you think your children are in the house and safe while you’re cutting the grass, they can run out in the yard so quickly,” she said. “You just really need to be aware of your surroundings to make sure the area is safe.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics actually recommends that children are at least 16 years old before they operate a riding lawnmower and at least 12 years old to operate a push mower.

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