The statistics on kids getting injured during the summertime can be startling. The National Safe Kids Campaign asserts that May, June, July, and August are the most dangerous months of the year for kids, with injuries from all sorts of outdoor activities around the water like boating, swimming, tubing, and water skiing, as well as dry-land pursuits such as setting off fireworks. But there’s one summer activity that consistently causes injuries to the lower limbs summer after summer in the United States, and that’s mowing the lawn.
Accidents happen. But in terms of protecting your kids from foot, ankle, and leg injuries from lawn mowers, there are several steps you can take to keep them safe:
- Start with the mower itself. Make sure it’s in good working order with blades free from debris. Register your mower with the manufacturer in order to receive recall notices. Pay attention to any notices you receive and pass the word along to others that their mowers may need fixing.
- Consider your surroundings. Before you begin, clear the lawn of anything that could become a projectile when mowed over, such as toys, rocks, and branches.
- Small children should be kept out of the area entirely. Keep the little ones in the house. And never let them sit on your lap while you drive a ride-on mower. The potential for accidental falling off of and rolling under the mower is high.
- Let experience be your guide. Carefully supervise your teen who’s just beginning to mow the lawn. You only have to search YouTube to see some harrowing footage of teens using some very poor judgment – using the machine to tow a friend on a bicycle, performing wheelies with a large ride-on and tipping over, or losing control and running into a tree. Teach them that the mower isn’t a toy.
Follow these helpful tips to prevent tragic limb loss in your kids or grandkids. Call emergency services (911) if they do have a close encounter with a motor or blade. And follow up with podiatrist Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm at Clifton Foot & Ankle Center for expert care of any further problems with your feet or ankles. Make an appointment online or call us at our office in Centreville, VA at (703) 996-3000.