(Tamai, M.D., Junichi. “A Surgeon’s PSA for Lawn Mower Safety.” Website/Cincinnati Children’s Blog. 05/01/2015. Web)
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 17,000 children under the age of 19 were injured by lawnmowers in 2010. Because no one ever thinks it can happen to them. No one intends to make a tragic, careless mistake. And certainly the parents of the children that [Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital] have treated never imagined it would happen to their families. The majority of the time, it happens like this: a parent or grandparent is mowing the lawn and the child, usually around age 4, either falls off of the mower or is run over while playing in the same yard. While [the doctors] see children of all ages with lawnmower injuries, this is the most common age. Dr. Junichi Tamai with the Cincinnati Children’s hospital thinks the age is important to mention because older children tend to know how to protect themselves and get out of the way. It’s the younger ones that need extra supervision and forethought. After an initial visit in the Emergency Department, [Dr. Tamai] will see these patients in orthopedics to determine what else can be done to help the injured area function again. [He sees] lawnmower injuries ranging from fractures to amputations.
The take away message here is that while the number of accidents that happen due to lawnmowers are relatively small compared to other types of injuries, the severity of the injuries are often catastrophic. The good news is that the majority of these injuries can be prevented with a few safety measures.
Here are some tips to help keep your children and grandchildren safe while mowing the lawn:
Appropriate ages for types of mowing:
- Children under the age of 15 should never be in the yard when someone else is mowing.
- Children younger than 12 should not use walk-behind mowers.
- Children younger than 16 should not be allowed to use ride-on mowers.
- Neither children nor adults should ride as a passenger on a ride-on mower.
The safest lawn mower has the following features:
- When placed in reverse, the blade disengages.
- When handle is released, the mower stops.
- When driver leaves operating position, a ride-on mower disconnects the blade from the power source.
The safest way to operate the mower:
- Do not pull the mower backward or mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary, and look behind you when you do.
- Turn off mower and wait for blades to stop completely before removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, or crossing gravel paths.
- Wear hard-soled shoes (no sandals or sneakers), hearing and eye protection.
- Pick up objects from lawn, such as stones and toys, to prevent injuries from flying objects.
The lawyers at Liever, Hyman & Potter, P.C., are concerned for the safety of children and families in Reading, Berks County, PA, Pottsville, Schuylkill County, PA, and throughout Eastern and Central PA.
From the desk of Adam K. Levin, Esquire.