It happens every year: regular folks fire up their lawnmowers in order to beautify their yards, but something ugly happens. A child gets in the way and loses her foot – as happened to a 5-year old girl in Indiana just a few weeks ago.
About 13,000 children are involved in lawn mower accidents each year in the U.S. More than half of these kids have to have a limb amputated – a foot, leg, hand, or arm – according to a study from the Penn State College of Medicine. It’s so sad to think about a child having to endure that kind of pain and a lifetime of disability.
Not to be the voice of gloom and doom – but the same study also noted that more than 68,000 adults are treated every year for traumatic injuries involving lawn mowers.
The good news is that there’s a lot you can do to prevent lawn mower accidents:
- Keep young children inside while mowing. They can move quickly and unpredictably – right into your path.
- When using a ride-on mower, never let a child ride in your lap.
- When allowing children to do the mowing, follow the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics: age 12+ for a push mower and age 16+ for a ride-on.
- Clear the area to be mown of debris such as branches or rocks – these can become dangerous projectiles when run over.
- Don’t mow early in the morning when the grass is damp and someone could slip into a running machine.
- Wear heavy shoes or boots that completely cover your feet.
- Turn off the mower when not in use.
- Never use your hands or feet to clean the blades, even if the motor’s off.
Dr. Megan L. Oltmann and Dr. Craig B. Frey, the expert podiatrists at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland, hope that you take these recommendations to heart. Practice lawnmower safety each and every time you start your machine and help avoid tragic injury to your lower limbs – or those of a child.
Don’t hesitate to contact our office in Solon, Ohio if you have questions about foot health or if you have pain in your feet or ankles that you think might need medical attention. We’re here for you 6 days a week with early and late hours available and Saturday hours by appointment. Give us a call at (440) 903-1041 or visit us online.