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Lawn Mower Accidents Rise This Time of Year

Safety expert says 10,000 children are injured each year in lawn mower accidents

March 8, 2007

Story Contact:  Jennifer Faddis, 573-882-6217,

COLUMBIA, Mo. — It can travel at speeds of more than 200 miles per hour, and with little warning it can severely injure someone. That is how University of Missouri Extension safety expert Bill Casady describes a rock thrown from a lawn mower. Each year, more than more than 75,000 Americans are injured in lawn mowing accidents, and 10,000 of them are children.

“A projectile traveling at 150 to 250 miles per hour has great potential to tear the skin, and usually those injuries heal. However, an object could just as easily hit you in the face or directly in the eye, and that will put an eye out immediately,” Casady said.

Each year, more than 75 people die in lawn mower accidents. Many lawn mowing accidents involve children, Casady said. He advises parents to not allow children under the age of 12 to use a push mower and to keep children under the age of 16 off riding lawn mowers.

“Many children are disfigured in lawn mowing accidents. They lose toes or fingers, even a whole hand or limb, and it changes the family forever and may change the quality of life,” Casady said.

People should always wear eye and ear protection, especially when using a string trimmer. Many string trimmers, leaf blowers and chain saws are very loud. These lawn items can exceed more than 100 decibels. Loud noises heard even for a short period of time cause permanent hearing damage. Casady said string trimmers also can pick up and hurl objects at three times the speed of a lawn mower.

“A string will still be able to pick up tiny gravel-size items and easily fling them at 200 miles per hour. Those projectiles could put an eye out as well, so wearing eye protection while using string trimmers is extremely important,” he said.

Casady also urges adults to check lawn equipment to make sure safety guards are in place. The protective shield on the rear of a push mower has saved many feet during accidents. Many older-model lawn mowers do not have this safety feature.