Off-the-Job Safety: Children and Lawnmowers Can Be a Dangerous Mix

Time and again, Dr. Edwin Harris, a Loyola University Health System pediatric podiatrist, has treated children who have lost toes or the front parts of their feet in lawn mower accidents.

Cases he’s seen include a boy, riding on an adult's lap, who fell off a riding mower and got his foot caught in the blade, and a young boy who jumped off a swing into the path of a lawn mower.

“These accidents are devastating but totally preventable,” said Harris. “Kids should never be around a running lawn mower. And children under the age of 16 should not be allowed to operate either a riding lawn mower or walk-behind mower.”

In 2007, nearly 210,000 people, including 16,200 children, were injured in lawn mower accidents, according to the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Harris urges operators of riding mowers and push mowers to follow these safety tips:

· Keep children out of the mowing area and under the supervision of another adult who isn’t mowing the lawn.
· If a child enters the area, turn off the mower.
· Before and while backing, look behind and down for small children.
· Never carry children on riding mowers, even with the blade shut off.
· Never allow children to operate the machine.
· Be extremely careful when approaching blind corners, shrubs, trees, etc., that could block your view of a child.
· Wear sturdy shoes with sure-grip soles to avoid slipping.

“As we head into the peak of the lawn mowing season, I’m hoping operators of lawn mowers will follow these common-sense precautions,” Harris said.

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