Lawn Mower Accidents Are the Leading Cause of Major Amputations for Children Under 10
More Than 600 Children Undergo Mower-Related Amputations Each Year
More attention needs to be paid to lawn mower safety this year, according to the Amputee Coalition of America. Needless limb loss accidents can be prevented by taking simple commonsense precautions. (See the checklist at the end.)
Depending on where you live in the U.S., you may mow your lawn 30 times or more this year. Every time you start your mower, you are dealing with a dangerous and potentially deadly piece of equipment. By following just a few safety measures before you mow, you can avoid life-altering accidents.
Lawn mower accidents cause serious injuries to legs, arms, fingers, toes or other body parts. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 200,000 people – around 16,000 of them under age 19 – were treated for lawn mower-related injuries in 2007. More than 600 children undergo amputations each year as the result of lawn mower-related injuries. For children under age 10, major limb loss is most commonly caused by lawn mowers.
“In 2010, we want to see the number of accidents greatly reduced by increasing public awareness of lawn mower safety. Amputations from lawn mower accidents are among the most preventable,” says Kendra Calhoun, president & CEO of the Amputee Coalition of America. “The statistics on childhood amputations caused by lawn mower accidents are shocking. By following commonsense safety rules, you can prevent lawn mower injuries to yourself and others. Taking proper precautions with lawn-mowing equipment is critical.”
The Amputee Coalition of America offers these safety guidelines:
• Never allow children to play on a lawn mower, even if it is turned off.
• Never allow a child to ride on a riding lawn mower with you.
• Keep your children indoors and do not allow other children to play nearby while you are mowing.
• Children should be at least 12 years old before operating any lawn mower and at least 16 years old to operate a riding mower.
2010 MOWING SAFETY CHECKLIST
Before starting your lawn mower, use this simple Amputee Coalition of America checklist, which is based on information from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Keep this checklist in your garage or near your mowing equipment. It only takes a minute to prevent disaster.
_____ Pick up stones, toys and debris from the lawn to prevent injuries from flying objects.
_____ Wear shoes, not sandals.
_____ Use eye and hearing protection.
_____ Start and refuel mowers outdoors, never in a garage.
_____ Refuel with the motor turned off and cool.
_____ Blade settings – ADULTS ONLY!
_____ Only use mowers with automatic shut-down abilities, such as those with a control that stops motion when the handle is released.
_____ Don’t mow in reverse unless necessary, and watch out for others.
_____ Wait for blades to stop completely before removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, or crossing gravel roads.
Parents: Explain the dangers of lawn mowers and their safe operation. Follow these simple precautions and set a good example for children.
About the Amputee Coalition of America
The Amputee Coalition, based in Knoxville, Tennessee, is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is “to reach out to and empower people affected by limb loss to achieve their full potential through education, support and advocacy, and to promote limb loss prevention.” For more information about limb loss, please visit the Amputee Coalition Web site at amputee-coalition.org or call 888/267-5669.