Before you fire up the lawnmower and get cutting, consider this: every year, thousands of people go to the emergency room with grave injuries from lawnmowers. Many of the injured are children who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Toe, foot, or entire lower leg amputations are not uncommon.
Follow these tips, several of which come directly from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:
- Don’t allow children to play in the yard, ride in your lap, or operate the machinery if they’re too young. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children be at least 16 years old to operate a ride-on and at least 12 for a rotary mower.
- Before you even turn on the mower, make sure the terrain is free from rocks, branches, toys, sprinkler heads, and other debris that could catch in the mower, get thrown across the yard, and hit someone.
- Use a mower you’re comfortable with. Can you comfortably reach the controls? Does the seat belt feel snug? Make sure your mower feels like a good “fit.” Read the entire owner’s manual before operating it.
- Make sure your mower complies with current federal regulations, meeting standards for things like brake control and foot shield placement. Be alert to recalls on lawnmowers and return any faulty machinery.
- Mow hilly areas in the proper direction. If you’re using a riding mower, mow up and down. When pushing a rotary mower, walk back and forth across the slope.
- Shut off the engine before attempting to change the mower’s height, remove grass clippings from the chute, or if you have to step away from the machine for any reason.
- Perform regular maintenance on your mower and make sure all the safety features are operable.
- To prevent unwanted use of your mower, consider removing one of the machine’s spark plugs when it’s in storage.
Take lawnmower injuries to the lower limbs seriously. Seek emergency treatment and make an appointment with us for follow-up evaluation and care. We welcome patients from Portage, Geauga, Cuyahoga, and Summit Counties to our state-of-the-art podiatry office in Solon, Ohio. Call us at (440) 903-1041 or make an appointment online.