There has been a nationwide increase in the incidence of injuries as a consequence of lawn mowing . Surprisingly, a study conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reveals that as many as 80, 000 Americans seek treatment for injuries from lawn mowing which is regarded to be a weekly ritual for many Americans during summer months and spring.
The research also pointed out to the increase in incidence of lawn mowing injuries occurring in children less than 15 years of age and those above 60. The results of this first ever-nationwide study conducted to study the extent and mechanisms of lawn mower injuries has been published in the April 2006 online edition of the Annals of Emergency Medicine.
In most of the cases, the injuries were caused due to strikes from rocks, branches and other similar debris that are propelled by the spinning blades of the mower. In those less than 15 years of age, non-specific pain after mowing and injuries caused while servicing the mower were the most common causes of injury. Fractures of the foot necessitated hospitalization of the injured.
According to the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics, no one under age 12 should use a push mower and those less than 16 years of age are restricted from riding mower. The researchers, David Bishai and Vanessa Costilla analyzed data concerned with mower-related injuries requiring hospitalization. The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (1996-2004) and the National Hospital Discharge Survey (1996-2003) provided adequate data for the study.
Between 1996 and 2004, more than 663, 000 people have been treated in the emergency rooms of the U.S. hospitals. Alarmingly, 2 out of every 1,000 injury-related emergency room visits could be attributed to a lawn mower injury.
This approximated to a figure of 80,000 people who required medical treatment for injury related to lawn mowing. The figures are twice greater than those who receive treatment firearms injuries on an annual basis.
'There is no reason anyone under 12 should ever be injured by a lawn mower. If we would keep the kids off the lawn when mowing and off the riding mowers we could greatly reduce the number of injuries each year. These are machines with sharp blades spinning at 160 miles per hour just inches away from our feet and hands. Everyone needs to respect the dangers and use common sense,' said David Bishai, senior author of the study.
The authors recommend wearing of protective devices such as goggles, close-toed shoes with gripped soles and long pants to prevent such injuries. It is also a good practice to clean the yard of debris before mowing. Children should be kept away from the yard during mowing. People suffering from chest pain, back pain, joint pain can appoint somebody else to get the job done.
Use of protective gloves, more specifically while servicing mower or changing blades is recommended. As most of the injuries happen while lifting the mower, it is advisable to get help regarding the same, if necessary. A mower should be used only in good weather conditions and should be avoided in high heat.
Riding the mower should not be done on steep hills or embankments. Passengers should not be towed behind the mower and children below 16 years of age should be restricted from riding mowers. Last but not the least, mowers must be stored in a area in area with minimal traffic which is not accessible to children