The researchers also concluded that the number of injuries from lawn mowers is increasing, with the majority of injuries occurring in children under age 15 and adults age 60 and older. The most common injuries were caused by strikes from debris, such as rocks and branches, propelled by the mower's spinning blades.

"There is no reason anyone under 12 should ever be injured by a lawn mower," said David Bishai, MD, PhD, MPH, senior author of the study and associate professor in the Department of Population and Family Health Sciences at the Bloomberg School. "If we would keep the kids off the lawn when mowing and off the riding mowers we could greatly reduce the number of injuries each year."

Bishai and co-author Vanessa Costilla analysed data of mower-related injuries requiring hospitalisation from the National Hospital Discharge Survey from 1996 to 2003 and the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System from 1996 to 2004.

According to the results, more than 663,000 people were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for lawn mower injuries between 1996 and 2004. More than 80,000 people required hospital treatment for lawn mower injuries in 2004, which means about 2 out of every 1,000 injury-related emergency room visits is because of a lawn mower injury. The rate is about half the number treated for firearms injuries annually. In addition to strikes from flying projectiles, the most common causes of injury for people over age 15 were non-specific pain after mowing and injuries occurring while servicing the mower. The most common injury requiring hospitalisation was fractures of the foot.

"These are machines with sharp blades spinning at 160 miles per hour just inches away from our feet and hands. Everyone needs to respect the dangers and use common sense," said Bishai.; Source: Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health