Don’t Let The Mower Get Your Toes!

With summer in full swing, it’s important to be cautious when using a lawnmower.  According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, 13 children receive emergency treatment for a lawn mower-related injury every day in the United States.  And that’s just children.  Children and older adults are more likely to be injured by mowers, while bystanders and passengers were almost four times more likely than operators to be admitted to a hospital for treatment of lawnmower injuries.  Surprisingly, many people like to mow the lawn barefoot, and that’s just asking for trouble.

A very common lawnmower accident scenario is this:  the grass is wet, you’re mowing down a slight hill and you start slipping forward toward the mower. In trying to prevent yourself from slipping toward the lawnmower, you brace yourself by holding on to the handle of the mower.  This pushes the handle upwards, exposing the blades of the mower as you continue to slide towards it.  Pretty frightening scenario, yet pretty common.

Here are some safety tips to avoid lawnmower injuries:

  • Wear shoes!  Heavy work boots are the best.
  • Don’t mow a wet lawn, so there is no chance of slipping.
  • Never go up and down slopes, mow across.
  • Never pull a mower backward towards you.
  • Don’t allow children to ride on tractor mowers and keep them away from the lawn when mowing.
  • Use a mower with an automatic safety mechanism on the handle to shut down if needed.
  • Supervise and teach teens how to mow safely.  Children should be at least 12 years old to operate a push mower and should never do so without proper instruction on mowing safety.

If a lawnmower accident happens, immediate treatment is imperative!  Apply pressure to control bleeding and call 911 right away.  Often the wounds are deep and need a surgical cleanse, and possible repair of tendons and skin.  The podiatrists at Kansas City Foot & Ankle have been well trained in foot and ankle trauma and specifically in the surgical repair of injuries resulting from lawnmower accidents.

Lawnmower accidents are preventable.  Be smart, take the above precautions, and have a wonderful and safe summer!