Study: More than half of lawn mower injuries in children lead to amputation

ORLANDO, Fla. — Researchers found 53% of lawn mower injuries in children result in amputation, according to results presented at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting.

Douglas Armstrong, MD, director of pediatric orthopedic surgery at Penn State Hershey Pediatric Bone and Joint Institute and colleagues studied data from the Pennsylvania Trauma Outcome Study of 199 children, ages 17 years and under, admitted to a pediatric or adult trauma center between 2002 and 2013 with lawn mower injury.

According to a press release from the meeting, boys accounted for 81% of injuries, 55% of injuries involved a riding mower and the most common injury site was the lower extremity which accounted for 65% of injuries.

Injuries were caused most commonly when children ran behind a mower; slipped under the mower while riding as passenger; collided with mower blades when machines were steered in reverse; and were struck by a mower that rolled over due to an uneven and/or wet surface. In many cases adults did not realize children were near the mower when injuries occurred.

A total of 106 children required amputation and 91% of injuries occurred between April and September.

The study also found many parents and children are unaware of, or not following, safety tips and precautions offered by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Academy of Pediatrics and other child and health organizations.

“We have to find a way to stop kids from being around lawn mowers,” Armstrong said in the release. “Many parents do not realize that the blade is such a forceful, blunt instrument — even if it is hidden under the mower.”

He added, “These injuries are devastating to kids and their families.”

Armstrong and colleagues recommended the creation of a spring education campaign that employs social media, school nurses, pediatricians, TV ads and other resources to remind parents how to keep children safe from lawn mower injuries.


Armstrong D, et al. Poster #506. Presented at: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting; March 1-5, 2016; Orlando, Fla.

Disclosure: Armstrong reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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