Advice on Lawnmower Safety

Well, it’s only the first week in April, and my grass has been mowed three times already due to the warm weather and abundance of rain this year. Lawn mowing is such a mundane and routine task that we seldom stop to think about what we are doing, unless it’s to think about how hot it is, how thirsty we are, how our muscles are aching and how much longer until the job is done. What we are probably NOT thinking about is the degree of danger we are subjecting ourselves to, as well as our family members and neighbors and pets, if they are outside while the mowing is taking place. Several years ago, one of my daughters was mowing her grass and found a hidden rock with the lawnmower blade. The rock was hurled across the yard and through the back window of her car, shattering the glass. Fortunately, there were no children, pets, or neighbors nearby, so no injuries occurred. This is a good reminder about the power and danger of a lawnmower. If you stop and think about it, you’re operating a machine with five or six horsepower (or more) turning a heavy steel blade at 3000 RPM that is just inches away from your feet and legs (and hands and fingers if you dare). Is it any wonder people get hurt? And it’s not just a few people, it’s thousands every year. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 9,300 young people (age 20 or under) are injured every year by lawnmowers, and one-third of these injuries are in children under the age of 12 years. The injuries range from lacerations, broken bones, amputations and a multitude of injuries suffered as a result of projectiles thrown from lawnmowers.

Lawnmowers have been a source of concern for safety advocates. In 2001, the American Academy of Pediatrics established guidelines for safe lawn mowing…

In spite of these suggestions, the incidence of lawnmower injuries has not declined in the years 2004 to 2013.  Follow this link to read an interesting update on lawn mower safety,..

Sleep Recommendations Update for Infants, Children, and Adolescents:


1.  American Academy of Pediatrics SmartBrief;  June 13, 2016:

“The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends daily sleep of 12 to 16 hours for 4 month-olds to 1 year-olds, 11 to 14 hours for 1 to 2 year-olds, 10 to 13 hours for 3 to 5 year olds, 9 to 12 hours  for 6 to 12 year-olds and 8 to 10 hours for 12 to 18 year-olds.  The guidelines in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, indicate lack of sleep may heighten the risk of injuries, depression, hypertension, and obesity among children and suicidal thoughts or self-harm among adolescents, while regular excess sleep may raise risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and mental health problems.”

2. The American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS);  November 2016:

Recommendations for infants up to 1 year of age:

  • Infants should be placed on their backs for sleep.
  • Infants should sleep on a firm surface.
  • Breast-feeding is recommended, as it is associated with reduced risk for SIDS.
  • Infants should sleep in the same room with parents – but not in the same bed – until at least 6 months of age.
  • Avoid bed sharing for infants less than 4 months of age, premature infants, and infants born small for gestational age.
  • Avoid bed sharing with current smokers, mothers who smoked during pregnancy, and anyone whose alertness is impaired.
  • Do not have soft objects or loose bedding in the sleep area.
  • Offer a pacifier at nap or bedtime.
  • Avoid overheating and head covering during sleep.
  • Avoid exposure to smoke, alcohol, and drugs during pregnancy.
  • Do not use home cardiorespiratory monitors or other medical devices marketed to avoid SIDS.

If you have any questions concerning these recommendations, please discuss them with your child’s pediatrician.


Overuse Injuries

Each year, many children and adolescents suffer sports-related injuries.  While most sports injuries are acute, it is estimated that over half of all injuries are a result of overuse.  An overuse injury is an injury sustained after repeated use.  It occurs as a result of repetitive trauma to a bone, ligament, or tendon without allowing adequate time for healing.  Overuse injuries may be difficult to recognize because the symptoms can be subtle and can occur over a period of time.  Some common examples include Little League elbow, jumper’s knee, swimmer’s shoulder, and tennis elbow.  Young athletes can be at increased risk of developing overuse injuries because they are skeletally immature.  There are several other factors that may lead to these injuries including improper training and faulty mechanics.  Some experts have suggested that sports specialization may also play a role in the development of overuse injuries.

A pre-participation physical may detect injuries or identify risk factors for developing overuse injuries.  Participating in appropriate training and practicing proper mechanics can also help prevent injuries.  It may be beneficial for young athletes to cross train and to play different sports throughout the year in order to avoid placing too much stress on one bone or muscle group.  If a child or adolescent develops pain or discomfort with exercise, he or she should decrease the frequency or duration of exercise and rest.  If symptoms persist, the athlete should consult with his or her pediatrician.