Indianapolis EMS Issues Summer Warning for Parents
Lawn mowers pose significant risk for injury
Contact: Todd Harper
Indianapolis, May 22, 2012 -- As warm weather envelopes central Indiana and children begin to spend more time outdoors, the potential for injuries begins to pose a serious threat to their health. In 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that more than 9,000 children and adolescents from newborn to age 19 died from, and more than 9 million were treated for, serious bodily injuries, the leading cause of death among children in the United States. These injuries could have been prevented.
"The staggering fact is that over 225,000 pediatric injuries each year require hospitalization at a cost of nearly $87 billion," said Dr. Charles Miramonti, chief of Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services and emergency physician at Wishard Health Services. "These are injuries that are preventable and that, with community education and a sense of real awareness, can be reduced significantly."
On Wednesday, May 23, 2012, the nation recognizes Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for Children Day, part of the weeklong National EMS Week taking place from May 20 – 26, and offers a great opportunity to educate children on the potential risks associated with accidental injury and ways to prevent against them. Sun safety, bike safety, water safety and general outdoor safety should all be discussed during spring and summer months when children spend a significant amount of time outside.
Some of the most widely-occurring pediatric injuries in the U.S. involve power lawn mowers. In 2010, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported that an estimated 253,000 people were treated for lawn mower-related injuries, nearly 17,000 of which were children or adolescents. Approximately 75 deaths occur each year from these injuries, 20 percent of which are children.
One of the most common of these pediatric injuries occur when a child is run over, either backward or forward, by a riding lawn mower, which is often the result of a child falling off the lawn mower or playing nearby. The wounding capacity of a power rotary lawn mower can be quite devastating, emitting power equal to that of a 21-pound object being dropped from a height of 100 feet.
The most common injuries occurring from lawn mowers include lacerations, traumatic amputations, broken and dislocated bones, burns and penetrating injuries. Lacerations of the hands and fingers are the most common injury, followed by soft-tissue injuries, burns and fractures. In addition, morbidity is high with these injuries, resulting in an estimated 650 traumatic amputations per year, and lawn mower injuries are one of the most common causes of amputations in the U.S.
"We work on a daily basis to attempt to reduce the amount of traumatic injuries affecting children in Indiana," said Dr. Elizabeth Weinstein, director of the Indiana Emergency Medical Services for Children Program (IEMSC) and deputy medical director for pediatrics for Indianapolis EMS.
"Lawn mower safety should not be taken lightly, and parents should remain constantly aware of their surroundings and follow the necessary precautions to prevent any and all injuries occurring on their watch."
The American Academy of Pediatrics and Indianapolis EMS offer the following tips to prevent against lawn mower injuries in children:
- Never allow children to ride as passengers on riding lawn mowers.
- Keep children indoors or supervised a safe distance away from the area being mowed.
- Utilize lawn mowers with a control which stops movement if the handle is let go.
- Avoid mowing in reverse whenever possible, and always look for children prior to mowing in reverse.
- Use collection bags or plates covering the grass release opening to prevent projectile injuries.
- Clear the lawn of debris, such as branches, wire, nails and other pieces of metal that may act as dangerous projectiles if thrown by the lawn mower.
- Children younger than 16 years of age should not use riding mowers, and children under 12 years of age should not use walk-behind mowers.
IEMSC has also developed a Lawn Mower Safety Fact Sheet that you can use to help educate yourself and your children on proper safety techniques and guidelines. To view this information and learn more about all that IEMSC is doing to help celebrate EMS for Children’s Day, please visit www.indianaemsc.org or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about Indianapolis EMS, visit www.IndianapolisEMS.org. You can also follow Indianapolis EMS on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/IndianapolisEMS) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/indianapolisems).