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Is your lawnmower hazardous to your health?

A newly released study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, (published in the industry journal Public Health Reports) suggests that lawnmowers are far more hazardous than many of us had previously realized.

There are an estimated 6,400 lawnmower-related injuries each year, and each comes with a cost of approximately $37,000 in medical expenses alone.

The study authors analyzed eight years’ worth of emergency room visits and hospitalizations to arrive at their figures. They broke down the data by gender, age, severity of injury and type of injury to discover the following information:

  • The overwhelming majority – 85.2 percent – of lawnmower injuries are suffered by men
  • Children under age 4 were six times as likely to have a lower-extremity injury and 1.7 times as likely to end up with an amputated digit or limb as a result of a lawnmower-related injury than youths over the age of 15
  • Teens and adults (age 15 or above) were more than eight times as likely to have a hand injury
  • 65.4 percent of injuries happened to the hand or arm of the patient, 19.8 percent to the foot or leg, and the remaining 14.8 covered other areas of the body

These injury patterns suggest to researchers that young children are more likely to be injured either while walking/running out in front of a moving lawnmower or while seated on the operator’s lap, and that teens and adults are typically injured when reaching into the chute or underneath the mower to clear debris. The most common injuries found while analyzing study data were lacerations/cuts, fractures and amputations.

Hopefully this data can be used by product manufacturers to develop safer lawnmowers that will be less prone to cause harm, and to craft public safety and prevention campaigns aimed at stopping these particular types of injuries.