The statistics are grim: each year in the United States, about 85,000 people seek treatment in the emergency room for lawnmower-related injuries. 16.2% of them involve the lower limbs. Yes, accidents happen; they always will. But you can help prevent a loved one from losing a toe, foot, or lower leg by following some specific dos and don’ts when you mow the lawn.
- DO learn how to operate your mower well. Study the manual. Know what every knob and switch does.
- DO sweep the lawn for foreign objects before you mow. Branches, stones, and toys present obstacles. In addition, if you run over them, they can go flinging across the yard and hit someone.
- DON’T let children play outside when machinery is running. Many accidents occur because the operator didn’t realize a child was nearby.
- DON’T let young children sit with you on a ride-on mower or tow them behind in a cart or trailer.
- DO keep your mower in good, clean working order.
- DON’T mow in the dark or when the grass is wet.
- DON’T let children younger than 12 operate a push mower or younger than 16 drive a ride-on mower.
- DO pay attention to what shoes you wear. Mow the lawn in sturdy work boots, never in sandals or sneakers.
- DO immediate medical attention when injured—call 911 for severe injuries. Clifton Foot & Ankle Center’s board-certified podiatrist, Kenneth R. Wilhelm, can treat lower limb fractures and lacerations at our Fairfax County podiatry office. Call (703) 996-3000 or contact us online for an appointment at our office in Centreville, Virginia.
You can buy the best possible lawnmower out there. But all the bells and whistles can’t protect you from making a mistake that costs someone a toe or foot. Be as safe as you possibly can. Avoid becoming another emergency room statistic, and follow the rules laid out above for your best chance at an accident-free summer.