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2 recent deaths show the dangers of lawn mowers

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The whir of a lawn mower is one of the sounds of summer – but the machines are also really dangerous.

About 80,000 Americans suffer injuries from lawn mowers each year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. And that's just "lawn mowers" – when you include other lawn and garden equipment and power lawn equipment, the numbers climb closer to 200,000 injuries per year.

And more than 600 children have limbs amputated every year because of lawn mowers, the Amputee Coalition says.

So the mundane routine of mowing could be a lot more dangerous than you think – and people need to pay more attention in order to stay safe, the Coalition says.

Recent incidents

A 79-year-old male was killed in Atwater, Minnesota on Thursday morning while operating a riding lawn mower, according to a news release from the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office. The man became pinned underneath the machine in a ditch, the sheriff's office said.

A North Dakota man was killed in a similar incident earlier this week.

Falling off of a riding mower and getting stuck underneath is a common cause of fatal incidents with riding lawn mowers, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Children are at risk

Lawn mowers can cause devastating injuries that often require reconstructive surgery and may take months or even years to heal, the American Academy of Pediatrics said.

They conducted a study on mower-related injuries to children in the U.S. from 1990-2004. According to the study, there were an estimated 140,700 lawn mower–related injuries that led to emergency rooms visits for kids (20 years and under) during the 15-year period. That's about 9,400 injuries every year.

“I’ve seen broken and dislocated bones, deep cuts, missing fingers and toes, limb amputations, burns, and eye injuries from lawn mower accidents,” Phillip Haeck, President of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons said. “The best way to treat a lawn mower-related injury is to prevent it.”

The academy says children should not be allowed to use a push lawn mower until they are at least 12 – and when it comes to riding mowers, kids should be 16 or older.

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