Spring is here, the sky is blue, the grass is green and it's time to give that lawn a trim. Maintaining lawn equipment is an important part of safe lawn care. The lawnmower is the main tool used for lawn maintenance or yard work and therefore, it is heavily used by most homeowners.
To keep your mower in excellent condition, do-it-yourself maintenance is needed at various times. Keeping your mower in working order is important for many reasons including safety. Lawn mower-related injuries to children are relatively common and can result in severe injury or death. Many amputations during childhood are caused by power mowers. Pediatricians have an important role as advocates and educators to promote the prevention of these injuries.
Lawn mower injuries are a seasonal threat to children and the leading cause of amputations in adolescents, say specialists from the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, Maryland's designated pediatric trauma center where the most severe injuries are treated. The number-one advice to parents is: Treat the lawn mower as hazardous equipment, not a toy," says Carol Gentry, R.N., pediatric OR nurse manager. "You don't let a child play with an electric saw, and that's exactly what a lawn mower is. Each year, lawn mower accidents send 9,400 U.S. children to the hospital, causing injuries more severe than any other tool or device, research shows. The most common injuries are lacerations, fractures and amputations of the fingers, hands, toes, feet and legs. Most injuries occur when an operator is unaware that a child is behind the mower and shifts into reverse, backing over the child.
Careless use of John Deree lawn mowers results in more than 55,000 injuries every year. The devastating nature of these injuries cannot be overemphasized.
significant proportion results in loss of toes or part of the foot. Approximately 75 people die from lawn mower injuries every year.
How Do the Injuries Happen?
• Young children can fall or slip into the operating mower blade while playing and running nearby.
• Children can be injured while operating the mower themselves when too young to do so, or when preschoolers and school-age children fall off a mower while riding with an adult.
• Children can be injured when mowers are placed into reverse and the operator is not aware a child is behind them.
All of the injuries could be prevented by taking the following precautions:
• Before operating equipment, familiarize yourself with it and make sure it is in good working order.
• Never go barefoot while mowing.
• Keep children under 6 years old indoors while a power mower is in operation.
• Prevent injuries from flying objects, like stones or toys, by picking up objects from the lawn before mowing begins. Use a collection bag for grass clippings or a plate that covers the opening where cut grass is released.
• Designs for mower controls should continue to be improved for ease of operation and to minimize inadvertent control contact and unintended operation.
• When a lawn mower cuts off, be extra careful in removing any objects from the blade.