11 Most Shocking Lawnmower Accident Statistics (2023 Update)
Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.
During the height of the grass growing season, it is common to mow the lawn every week, and while cylinder mowers are generally safe, larger ride-on mowers can cause severe injuries and even death. Generally, lawnmower deaths are not recorded separately from other accidental deaths or vehicular accidents, so statistics are hard to come by.
However, where they are available, they are shocking and show that although you are far more likely to die falling out of bed, you are more likely to die in a lawnmower accident than in a terrorist incident. Below, we have gathered 11 statistics about lawnmower accidents and their impact.
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The 11 Lawnmower Accident Statistics
- Lawnmower accidents cause 85,000 injuries a year in the US.
- There are 65 backover injuries per year, but most ride-on mowers still allow reverse mowing.
- Lawnmower injuries cost $37,000 per inpatient, on average.
- More than twice as many people are killed by lawnmowers than by lightning.
- You’re also more likely to be killed by a lawnmower than sharks, alligators, snakes, spiders, cows, and dogs combined.
- Men are three times more likely to suffer lawnmower injuries than women.
- Accidents are most likely to occur on weekdays between April and September.
- Hands and fingers were the most commonly injured body parts.
- Other types of garden equipment are more likely to cause accidents, but lawnmower injuries more often require hospitalization
- Young children are more likely to suffer foot injuries.
- 1 in 5 lawnmower injuries require amputation.
Lawnmower Accident Basics
1. Lawnmower accidents cause 85,000 injuries a year in the US, including 70 fatalities
In the US, 70 people per year die in lawnmower accidents. This includes all forms of lawnmowers, including ride-on, mechanical, and push mowers. It also includes people of all ages, from children to seniors.
What’s more, lawnmower accidents lead to 85,000 injuries every single year. That’s approximately 0.03% of the population that is injured by lawnmowers.
2. There are 65 backover injuries per year, but most ride-on mowers still allow reverse mowing
Although it’s only a small fraction of the total injuries, there are concerns over the 65 backover injuries caused yearly. A backover injury is caused when the mower is pulled or driven backward. The main concern is that 70% of these injuries involve children under 5.
These accidents tend to occur when a child walks or runs out into the yard between the lawnmower and the person operating it, and it causes nearly one death of a young child every year.
Although legislation is in place that mandates push mowers to stop cutting when pulled backward, an oversight meant that powered mowers do not have the same requirements. It is necessary for powered mowers to lift their blades when reversing, but some manufacturers have override buttons that keep the blade lowered.
3. Lawnmower injuries cost $37,000 per patient, on average
Lawnmower accidents are serious because of the powerful motor and sharp blades. Such accidents are also expensive. One study determined that the average injury costs $37,000 per patient. Costs vary according to the type and severity of the injury.
4. More than twice as many people are killed by lawnmowers than lightning
(World Economic Forum)
70 deaths a year may not sound like many, and they don’t garner much attention in the press. However, that’s twice as many people as lightning kills each year. There are 31 fatalities per annum caused by lightning.
It’s also more than four times as many people are killed by terrorists (14). However, lawnmower accidents only account for approximately 10% of the annual deaths as falling out of bed.
5. You’re also more likely to be killed by a lawnmower than sharks, alligators, snakes, spiders, cows, and dogs combined.
One study puts the number of lawnmower deaths at 90, but very few people suffer from rasemaphobia, which is the official name for a fear of lawnmowers. In contrast, bears and alligators kill a single person each year, on average, with snakes (6), spiders (11), cows (20), and dogs (28) causing far fewer deaths than mowers.
All of these causes together (67) do not kill as many people per year as lawnmowers (70-90), but people are more likely to suffer from arcotophobia (bears), herpetophobia (reptiles including alligators), ophidiophobia (snakes), arachnophobia (spiders), cynophobia (dogs), and even bovinophobia (cows).
6. Men are three times more likely to suffer lawnmower injuries than women
It is unfortunate that being male increases the chances of being injured by a lawnmower by three times.
7. Accidents are most likely to occur on weekdays between April and September
Over a 10-year period, there were an average of 84,994 lawnmower injuries treated in Emergency Departments, and men were three times more likely to be injured than women.
Lawnmower Accident Consequences
8. Hands and fingers were the most commonly injured body part
Although the most commonly injured body part depends on the victim’s age, hands and fingers are injured more often. Hand injuries are usually caused by the operator attempting to fix a stuck blade or empty a blocked chute and suffering laceration injuries when the blades start turning again.
9. Other types of garden equipment are more likely to cause accidents, but lawnmower injuries more often require hospitalization
The yard and garden can be dangerous places. As well as the lawnmower, other appliances that can cause injury include blowers, trimmers, chainsaws, pruners, and power washers. While the other equipment was responsible for 73% of all injuries caused by all equipment, 11% of lawnmower injuries require hospital treatment, compared to only 7.3% of injuries caused by other garden equipment.
10. Young children are more likely to suffer foot injuries
Overall, victims of lawnmower accidents are most likely to suffer hand and finger injuries, but young children are more likely to suffer foot injuries. Foot injuries to children are usually due to the child running into the yard and in front of or behind the mower while it is in operation. Another common cause of children getting injured by a mower is falling from the lap of the operator’s knee.
11. 1 in 5 lawnmower injuries require amputation
Nearly 50% of injuries caused by lawnmowers are lacerations, with 22.4% being fractures. An alarming 21.5% were amputations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can A Lawnmower Hurt You?
Even the most basic lawnmower has sharp, rotating blades, which can cause serious damage if they catch a foot, hand, or finger. Ride-on mowers have the added danger of being heavy machines that can drive into or over operators and others.
What Is The Fear Of Lawn Mowers Called?
The fear of lawnmowers is called rasemaphobia. Like any phobia, it can be caused by past experiences and can lead to physiological symptoms like panic attacks.
How Do Lawnmower Accidents Happen?
Most lawnmower accidents seem to occur when people try to remove a blockage from the grass chute or free up seized blades without first ensuring that the mower is turned off and safe. Other causes include operators running over their feet or those of others.
Can A Lawnmower Cause Carbon Monoxide?
Powered and ride-on mowers typically use a combustion engine. Because the engines burn fuel, they produce carbon monoxide. When used properly outdoors, the carbon monoxide dissipates quickly and is unlikely to cause ill effects to the operator or other people.
However, if one is left running in a garage or other confined space, the carbon monoxide can build to dangerous levels that can cause asphyxiation and lead to death. To prevent that, only run a mower outdoors and switch it off when it is not in use. If you think you or anybody else is suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, get medical help as soon as possible.
What Age Is It Safe For A Child To Mow The Lawn?
Children can easily get injured around lawnmowers, especially if they are left in control of the dangerous machines. Experts advise that children under 6 be left inside while the lawn is mowed, that children should only operate a push mower when they are 12 or older, and they should wait until they are at least 16 before they are allowed to use a riding mower.
Lawnmowers are an essential part of life for many of us, and mowing the lawn can be a weekly task. While some of us look forward to the prospect of getting out and mowing, others are more reticent, especially since between 70 and 90 people are killed each year in lawnmower accidents in the US, with a further 84,000 injuries every year. More than 20% are amputations.
Mow safely, keep young children well out of the way, and ensure you kill the power before attempting to remove any blockages or free trapped blades.
Featured Image Credit: Skitterphoto, Pexels