More Than 600 Children Undergo Mower-Related Amputations Each Year
More attention needs to be paid to lawn mower safety to avoid accidents to the operator and children. 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. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission statistics are shocking: Each year, 800 children are run over by riding mowers or small tractors and more than 600 of those incidents result in amputation; 75 people are killed, and 20,000 injured; one in five deaths involves a child. For children under age 10, major limb loss is most commonly caused by lawn mowers.
“In 2015, we want to see the number of accidents greatly reduced by increasing public awareness of lawn mower safety,” said Susan Stout, president & CEO of the Amputee Coalition. “Every spring, we hear the same stories in the news: People lose limbs from lawn mower accidents.” Follow our simple safety rules, and you can prevent these life-changing accidents.”
Jodi Bainter and her husband, Brett, of Orlando, Florida, recall the devastating day in 2003 when their son, Jake, was run over by a lawn mower. The accident resulted in Jake’s leg being amputated above the knee. As a speaker and author on the accident and lawn mower safety, Jodi makes it clear that lawn mower accidents are 100 percent preventable.
“We want to share our story with other parents,” Bainter said. “Building awareness is a step toward prevention. The most important safety tip we can offer: Keep your kids inside when mowing. “Twelve years ago, our son Jake was tragically injured in a riding lawnmower accident. As a result, he will spend the rest of his life as an above-knee amputee. Each year, we meet more kids who became amputees due to riding lawnmower accidents. Be aware and take precautions.”
2015 MOWING SAFETY CHECKLIST
The Amputee Coalition offers these safety guidelines:
- First and foremost: Keep your children indoors and do not allow other children to play nearby while you are mowing.
- 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.
Before starting your lawn mower, use this simple Amputee Coalition checklist, 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!
_____ FOR PUSH MOWERS: Only use mowers with automatic shut-off abilities, such as those with a control that stops motion when the handle is released.
_____ FOR RIDING MOWERS: Make sure your riding mower’s safety feature includes an automatic shut-off when the rider is not in the seat.
_____ Don’t mow in reverse.
_____ Turn off lawn mower completely. Do not remove the grass catcher or unclog the discharge chute unless the lawn mower is off.
Parents: Explain the dangers of lawn mowers and their safe operation. Follow these simple precautions and set a good example for children.