Summer and spring might come with the smell of freshly cut grass, but researchers at Penn State College of Medicine are warning against the danger of letting children mow the lawn.
In 2015, more than 68,000 adults and 13,000 children were sent to emergency departments nationwide because of lawn mower injuries, according to a news release from Penn State.
And the injuries can be severe: A 12-year study of 199 patients age 18 and younger found that half of those admitted to a hospital with lawn mower injuries ended up having an amputation.
“We need to remind people that these are dangerous machines, and the consequences are devastating,” said Mariano Garay, a fourth-year medical student at Penn State College of Medicine. Garay has studied lawn mower injuries in children.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says children older than 12 should be able to use a walk-behind mower safely, while teens 16 and older should be able to operate a riding mower.
Children under the age of 6 should be kept indoors during mowing, according to the AAP.
The news release from Penn State recommends clearing a yard of toys and debris prior to mowing, making sure the mower is turned off before cleaning the blades and wearing sturdy shoes to avoid injuries.