Lawn mower related injuries are the leading cause of traumatic amputations in children, so lawn mowers should be approached with caution say experts at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.
Never underestimate the power of a lawn mower, said Mike Forness, DO, division chief, orthopaedics, Helen DeVos Children's Hospital. Lawn mowers are dangerous on multiple levels. A mower has extremely sharp blades moving at high speeds that can project objects at more than 200 miles per hour and a force greater than a gun.
Forness urges parents to remember five N's:
No bare feet. Sturdy shoes should be worn when mowing.
No one in the yard. Keeping children inside is the best protection.
No riders. Never let a child ride with an adult on a riding mower.
No child operators. Children under 12 should not operate a push mower and children under 16 should not operate a riding mower.
No mowing in reverse.
Lawn mower accidents often require multiple surgeries as the accidents injure growth plates in a child's leg, added Forness. Preventing mower accidents is one of the simplest actions a parent can take.
Other injury prevention tips include:
To prevent injuries from flying objects, such as stones or toys, remove objects from the lawn before mowing begins.
The adult mowing should wear hearing and eye protection.
Start and refuel the mower outside, not in a garage or shed.
Mowers should be refueled with the motor turned off and cool.
Never pull the mower backward or mow in reverse.
Always turn off the mower and wait for blades to completely stop before removing the grass catcher.
Never reach under a lawn mower with your hands to unclog the discharge chute or free a jammed blade.
Turn off the lawn mower to cross pathways and roads
Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, a member of Spectrum Health, is a Grand Rapids-based hospital serving children throughout Michigan. A teaching hospital, it includes more than 150 pediatric physicians with specialized training in providing medical and surgical care to children in more than 40 pediatric specialties.