Now that summer is here, the Amputee Coalition urges people to pay more attention to lawn mower safety. Needless limb loss accidents can be prevented by taking simple, common-sense precautions.
“We want to see the number of accidents greatly reduced by increasing public awareness of lawn mower safety,” said Kendra Calhoun, president & CEO of the Amputee Coalition. “Amputations from lawn mower accidents are among the most preventable. By following common-sense safety rules, you can prevent lawn mower injuries to yourself and others.”
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 researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, nearly 80,000 American are injured by a lawn mower each year (Costilla and Bishai, 2006). An estimated 9,400 of these injuries involved someone under the age of 20 (Smith and Vollman, 2006). Lawn mower-related injuries account for more than 51 percent of traumatic amputations among children (Hostetler et al., 2005). For children under age 10, major limb loss is most commonly caused by lawn mowers.
The Amputee Coalition 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.
2011 Mowing Safety Checklist
Before starting your lawn mower, use this simple Amputee Coalition 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.
_____ Adjust blade settings – ADULTS ONLY!
_____ Only use mowers with automatic shutdown 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
The Amputee Coalition is the national nonprofit organization serving more than 2 million people with limb loss and more than 28 million people at risk for amputation. This year, the Amputee Coalition is proudly celebrating 25 years of service. For more information: visit amputee-coalition.org or call 888/267-5669.