Lawn Mowers Can Be Dangerous For Small Children

Armen Hareyan's picture

Mowing Lawn Around Children

Mowing the lawn around children at play could present a danger and the potential for serious injury, especially when working with a power lawn mower.

State health officials warn that children can be severely injured from contact with the high-speed rotating blades of a lawn mower.

"When children are present, mowing the lawn can be a dangerous activity and lead to injuries," said Charlene Graves, M.D., medical director, Injury Prevention Program at the Indiana State Department of Health. "These injuries are preventable and children should always be kept away from an area being mowed and from the lawn mower."

According to the National Agricultural Safety Data, a rotary mower blade whirls at 2,000 or 4,000 revolutions per minute, or at 100 to 200 miles per hour. For safety reasons, it is important to know how to quickly disengage the clutch and stop the engine.


Health experts estimate that between 1,700 and 2,000 children in the United States are injured each year by riding power lawn mowers. Between the years 2003-2005 in Indiana, 40 percent of all lawn-mower related injuries that were serious enough to require hospitalization involved children less than 16 years of age. One half of these hospitalizations involved children 6 years of age or younger.

"The majority of lawn mower-related injuries to children are to the legs, feet, or toes," said Dr. Graves. "When children come in contact with the rotating blades, the resulting injuries often cause deep cuts to body tissues and bones, requiring many surgical procedures."

According to state health officials, it's not just the lawn mowers themselves that can cause injury. Young children can fall or slip into the operating mower blade while playing and running nearby. Children can be injured while operating the mower themselves when too young to do so, or when preschoolers and school-age children fall off a mower while riding with an adult. Children can be injured when mowers are placed into reverse and the operator is not aware a child is behind them. Rocks or other objects can be thrown by the mower and strike a child, especially in the eyes or the head.

Health officials say that children most commonly come in contact with lawn mower blades either while operating the mower themselves when too young, or are preschoolers and school-age children who fall off a mower while riding with an adult.

To help ensure the safety of children, the American Academy of Pediatrics offers these tips to parents: