Lawnmower Injuries More Common in Teens, Elderly

One-third of injuries requiring hospitalization are due to foot fracture and one-third for toe ampuation

THURSDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- People aged 60 to 69 are the most likely to be injured in a lawnmower accident, followed by adolescents aged 15 to 19 years, according to a study published online in April in the Annals of Emergency Medicine. There was a trend towards increased lawnmower injuries in the United States between 1996 and 2004, suggesting more should be done to prevent such injuries, the report indicates.

David M. Bishai, M.D., of the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and a colleague analyzed data from the National Hospital Discharge Survey 1996-2003 and the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System 1996-2004.

Lawnmower injuries increased with age and the highest incidence (30 per 100,000) was in the 60- to 69-year age group. Adolescents aged 15 to 19 years had the highest rate of hospitalizations (0.72 per 100,000 person-years) followed by those aged 60 to 69 (0.62 per 100,000 person-years). Of the hospitalized injuries, 34.4 percent were due to toe fractures and 32.4 percent were due to toe amputations. Although blacks and whites had comparable incidence rates of emergency visits, blacks had a higher rate of hospitalizations.

"Debris from under the mower hitting a body part or entering the eye was the most common mechanism for lawnmower injury," the authors state. "Given the high incidence of projectile-related injuries, improved protective apparel and eyewear could lower the rate of injury for all age groups. Health professionals and community educators can take an active role in warning parents about the dangers of lawnmowers."

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