Study shows lawn mowers injure thousands of US children annually

Columbus, Ohio -- Despite current safety efforts, thousands of U.S. children need emergency medical care for preventable lawn mower-related injuries each year. According to a study published in the August issue of Pediatrics and conducted by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) in the Columbus Children's Research Institute at Columbus Children's Hospital, an average of 9,400 persons 20 years old and younger receive treatment in a U.S. hospital emergency department annually, with 25% of the injuries incurred by children younger than five years.

Using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, researchers analyzed an estimated 140,700 lawn mower-related injuries to children who were 20 years of age and younger treated in hospital emergency departments from 1990 through 2004.

"Lawn mowers are an important cause of pediatric injury," said CIRP Director Gary Smith, MD, DrPH, the senior study author and a faculty member of The Ohio State University (OSU) College of Medicine. "We found that the annual number of lawn mower-related injuries remained relatively consistent during the 15-year period studied, which demonstrates that current injury prevention strategies are inadequate. 'Passive' (or automatic) protection that is provided by safer product design is the strategy with the highest likelihood of success in preventing these types of injuries."

Boys sustained 78% of the injuries with the average age of those injured falling between 10 and 11 years old. Lacerations (41%) were the leading type of injury, followed by soft tissue injuries (21%), burns (15%) and fractures (10%). The most common body region involved was the hand/finger (34%), followed by lower extremity (almost 19%) and foot/toe (nearly 18%). Eye and facial injuries accounted for 10% and upper extremity injuries accounted for 7%. Ninety-seven percent of amputation injuries occ

Contact: Kristyn Wilson
Columbus Children's Hospital

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