Lawnmowers: More Dangerous Than You Think

When it comes to dangerous machinery, lawn mowers probably aren’t the first device to come to mind. While necessary for keeping lawns under control, lawn mowers can also be a source of numerous summertime injuries.

Running Blind

A 2018 study, published in the journal Public Health Reports, reviewed a total of 51,000 lawn mower injuries between the years 2006 and 2013. The study authors found that the vast majority (some 85 percent) of those injured by lawn mowers were men. Perhaps more alarming, the report found that young children are especially at risk of such injuries; compared to those aged fifteen and older, children aged four and under were six times more likely to suffer foot, toe and lower extremity injuries. Moreover, amputations were almost twice as likely to afflict this group.

So how do such injuries occur? It depends on the child’s age. Younger children were often injured after running into yards while an older family member mowed the lawn. For older teens and adults, the study noted that injuries could typically be blamed on attempts to clear debris by hand.

Hidden Costs

In summarizing the report’s findings, lead author Dr. Deborah Schwengel stated that “despite consumer education programs and warning labels, lawn mower injuries in the United States remain a serious public health concern. Understanding what types of injuries occur in certain groups should help engineers design safer lawn mowers and policymakers create more appropriate prevention policies.”

Treating lawn mower related injuries doesn’t come cheap. The researchers found that the average emergency room visit for such problems averaged $2,500. The price tag was far higher for those admitted for hospital treatment, coming in at $37,000 on average. Among the most common injuries documented by the report were cuts (47 percent of injuries), fractures (22 percent) and amputations (22 percent), with such accidents typically affecting the wrist, hand, foot, or toe.

Related Stories