Ride-on mowers or lawn tractors are common lawn and field mowing vehicles used in the United States. An estimated 7.65 million such mowers are in operation annually.1 They are larger, more mechanically complex to operate, and much more powerful than their walk-behind counterparts. As a consequence, the risk of injury and possible death to children from these vehicles is high but almost entirely preventable.
A 1988 Hazard Report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, based on statistics from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System Special Mower Surveys (1983 to 1986), stated that there are approximately 19 100 ride-on mower injuries and 75 deaths in the United States annually.1 This indicates an annual injury rate of 2.5 injuries per 1000 ride-on mowers. Two thirds of the injuries occurred when mowers were in use (mowing, driving, or operating nonmowing attachments); one third occurred when mowers were not in use (being stored, loaded or unloaded from a trailer, maintained, or climbed on or played with in a parking area). Approximately 83% of in-use injuries occurred to the operators; 17% to nonoperators such as bystanders or passengers.
Most nonoperators injured were children less than 10 years of age. Approximately 7% of all injuries required hospitalization. This is twice the estimated rate of hospitalization for all other consumer-product-related injuries. The percentage hospitalized was progressively higher in children 15 years of age or younger and in adults 56 years of age or older.
Twenty-five percent of the estimated annual injuries (4775) and 30% of the deaths (23) occurred to children 15 years of age or younger.
- Copyright © 1990 by the American Academy of Pediatrics