PARENTS have been warned to lock up their children when cutting the grass after four youngsters suffered severe injuries from lawnmowers.
Plastic surgeons working in the Leinster region revealed incidents over the last six weeks after childrend lost toes and fingers playing on or near the machines.
Dr Patricia Eadie, president of the Irish Association of Plastic Surgeons (IAPS), said it was senseless for children to be let near lawnmowers.
"Fortunately in all cases our members have been able to repair some of the damage but this will still undoubtedly leave these children scarred physically and mentally for life," she said.
Dr Eadie said two children suffered horrific foot injuries, losing most of their toes and a lot of their foot after they were caught under a powered lawnmower.
Another two children suffered severe hand injuries with one child losing all fingers on one hand and the second had most of their fingers cut off.
Three of four incidents were caused by children being near ride-on mowers.
"Lock up your children. That should be the first thing anyone does before starting the lawnmower or have a second adult to supervise them," Dr Eadie said.
"Whereas a parent would never allow children to drive a car for whatever reason they don't exercise the same vigilance with what is a motorised blade. This just makes no sense to us."
Plastic surgeons also revealed that three adults had to be treated for severe hand injuries in the same six week period - fingers cut off trying to unblock blades on a running lawnmower.
Dr Eadie added: "Our advice to anyone unfortunate enough to lose digits in this way is to place any severed digits into a plastic bag, place the bag into a container of ice, and get the patient to an emergency room as quickly as possible."