Children treated for lawn mower-related injuries in US emergency departments, 1990–2014

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Abstract

Objective

Investigate the epidemiology of lawn mower-related injuries to children in the US.

Methods

A retrospective analysis was conducted of children younger than 18 years of age treated in US emergency departments for a lawn mower-related injury from 1990 through 2014 using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.

Results

An estimated 212,258 children < 18 years of age received emergency treatment for lawn mower-related injuries from 1990 through 2014, equaling an average annual rate of 11.9 injuries per 100,000 US children. The annual injury rate decreased by 59.9% during the 25-year study period. The leading diagnosis was a laceration (38.5%) and the most common body region injured was the hand/finger (30.7%). Struck by (21.2%), cut by (19.9%), and contact with a hot surface (14.1%) were the leading mechanisms of injury. Patients < 5 years old were more likely (RR 7.01; 95% CI: 5.69–8.64) to be injured from contact with a hot surface than older patients. A projectile was associated with 49.8% of all injuries among patients injured as bystanders. Patients injured as passengers or bystanders were more likely (RR 3.77; 95% CI: 2.74–5.19) to be admitted to the hospital than lawnmower operators.

Conclusions

Lawn mower-related injuries continue to be a cause of serious morbidity among children. Although the annual injury rate decreased significantly over the study period, the number of injuries is still substantial, indicating the need for additional prevention efforts. In addition to educational approaches, opportunities exist for improvements in mower design and lawn mower safety standards.

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