Lawn Mower Injuries in Children
May 21, 2020
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Lawn mowers make taking care of the yard a lot easier. And, since they’re so easy to use, it’s common for pre-teens and teenagers to be in charge of mowing the lawn as part of their household chores. While it makes for a practical way for the kids to do their part in your household’s upkeep, it’s important to remember that lawnmowers could be dangerous if not handled properly. What are the most common types of lawnmower injuries? How do you treat them? How do you know if it’s time to seek emergency medical care? And, how can you prevent them in the first place?
Common Types of Lawn Mower Injuries in Children
There are several types of injuries that children could sustain while operating a lawn mower. While they could occur anywhere on the body, the hands and feet are the most vulnerable to these types of injuries. And, they could lead to dangerous complications — including amputations or death. The most common injuries include:
These occur when the lawn mower hits an object hidden in the grass — such as stones or other types of debris. This is more prone to happen when visibility is poor — such as tall grass or not enough daylight.
The blades of a lawnmower can cause serious damage since they are so sharp and rotate quickly. In addition to cutting skin and damaging soft tissue, they often sever fingers or toes.
These could occur from the exhaust from a gas-powered lawn mower or from a hot engine. Prior to delegating lawn mowing duties to your child, go over the safety measures included in the instructions manual — including which parts of the mower heat up.
The rotating blades of a lawn mower move fast enough to cause bones to break — particularly the smaller bones in hands and feet. They can also cause serious damage to the muscles and ligaments around the bones.
Treatment for Lawn Mower Injuries in Children
If your child gets injured by a lawnmower, always seek emergency care. Failing to do so could lead to disability, diminished range of motion, or bleeding to death.
The first thing to do is to keep them away from additional harm. Make sure the mower is turned off. Then, cover the wound with a bandage or cloth. If it’s still bleeding, apply pressure. If the injury is in their hand or arms, raise their arm above their head to minimize bleeding. If there is a severed finger or toe, look for it in the backyard — you will have to bring it with you to the emergency room. Place the amputated part in a clean bandage or cloth and keep it sealed in a plastic bag. Then place the bag in a container filled with ice. Take your child to the nearest ER. If you can’t move them due to broken bones or too much blood, call 911.
Preventing Lawn Mower Injuries in Children
There are several things you and your family can do to prevent lawn mower injuries in children. The most common preventive actions include:
- Removing debris from the lawn. This includes sticks, stones, and toys. Doing so eliminates the risk of having the lawn mower turn them into projectiles that could injure your child.
- Having them wear protective eyewear. While removing debris will greatly reduce the risk of injury, having them wear safety goggles will ensure they remain safe in the event of a missed item.
- Supervising kids and teens. If your kids are helping out with yard work, don’t assume they’ll take care of it because it’s an easy task. Supervise them several times to ensure they know how to operate the lawnmower.
- Keeping small children inside. Make sure the little ones stay indoors while you or any other family member is mowing the lawn. Once you’re done mowing, store the lawn mower in a garage or shed — away from their view — so that they’re not tempted to play with it.
- Minding the model you buy. Look for lawn mowers that have a control that makes it automatically stop if the handle is released. This will make it safer for kids or teenagers who are easily distracted.
- Taking safety precautions. These include never allowing children to be passengers on riding lawn mowers, wearing closed-toed shoes, never operating a lawn mower in reverse, and waiting until your child is at least 12 years of age — and mature enough — to take over lawn mowing duties. If you own a riding lawn mower, you’ll need to wait until your child weighs enough to keep the seat down.
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