As summer in Rhode Island nears, so does lawn mowing season. It’s a good choice to have kids and teens helping with the household chores, but think twice before assigning them to the task of mowing the lawn. Lawnmower accidents and injuries are more common than you may think, and can be quite traumatic. In fact, it is advised that youngsters are not involved with lawn mowing until they are of a certain age and maturity. The Providence personal injury attorneys at Tapalian Law want to share with you the devastating impact lawnmower injuries can have on children and adults, and share with you some practical tips for keeping kids safe from these mostly preventable injuries.
AAP Recommendations for Appropriate Age to Use a Lawnmower
Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons agree that children under the age of 16 do not use a ride on mower and that kids under the age of 12 should not use either a push mower or a ride on mower. Children and teenagers do not yet have the maturity and focus to operate these pieces of heavy machinery. They often lack the ability to properly anticipate issues and can be easily distracted from a task, being more likely to result in an injury. It is advised that parents don’t allow a child to ride as a passenger on ride-on mowers and to not use a lawnmower for joy rides for children. It is recommended that children under the age of 6 are kept indoors while mowing. Not only can injuries occur due to the lawnmower itself, but young children playing outdoors during mowing can also be hurt by sticks or rocks that are spit out by a lawnmower.
Ride-On Mowers Vs. Push Mowers Injuries
Although mowing the lawn is a normal chore for many of us, it’s vital to remember that both push and riding lawn mowers are powerful and heavy machines with the potential to cause horrific and life-threatening personal injury. In 2015, over 274,000 adults and 12,000 children in the United States were injured by lawn mowers, according to the US Consumer Products Safety Commission. All mowers give off a huge amount of energy and according to a study by Dr. Douglas Armstrong, professor of orthopedic surgery and division head of pediatric orthopedics at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, the injuries seen are “… not just lacerations, they’re the result of something more like an explosion or blast injury”. Contact with moving blades or the engine can cause a number of injuries such as burns, broken bones, or limb amputation. Lawnmower injuries most often occur to arms or hands and more than 80% of lawnmower injuries are sustained by boys. Ride-on mowers cause more harm than push mowers due to the fact they can tip or roll over, putting a child at risk of being run over or severely hurt. Sadly, most of these injuries can be prevented by taking proper safety precautions.
Safety Tips for Mowing the Lawn
- Wear sturdy shoes (no sandals or flip flops) while mowing.
- Check the lawn for sticks or rocks and pick them up prior to mowing to prevent injuries from projectiles.
- Wear protective eye wear to protect eyes from flying sticks or stones.
- Use only a mower that stops the mower blade from moving if the handle is let go.
- Always turn off the mower and wait for the blades to completely stop before clearing any clogs in the machine or making repairs.
- Do not use hands to remove debris caught in the mower (use a stick or broom handle instead).
- Drive up or down slopes, not across, to prevent a rollover.
- Always stop and look behind you if it is necessary to put the mower in reverse.
- Regularly service and maintain your lawnmower to make sure it’s in good working order.
If You Have Been a Victim of Injuries from a Lawnmower
Getting hurt in a lawnmower accident can be traumatic and life-threatening. Medical attention must be sought immediately. Cuts and wounds from lawnmowers can occur most anywhere on the body but most often happen to the feet or hands. Cuts and wounds can easily get infected due to dirt and debris from the mower. Burns can occur from a lawnmower’s hot engine or gas tank, or its exhaust. Open fractures (cut or torn skin over a broken bone) are a very common type of injury associated with lawnmower incidents and can be caused by the sharp blades of a mower. Amputations are not uncommon when it comes to lawnmower injuries and may occur because its sharp blades can sever a limb, or an injured limb must be removed due to risk of infection and complications. Injuries may be caused by a malfunction in the machinery and may be an issue of product liability or the injuries may occur due to reckless, or negligent, use. If you, your child, or another loved one has been hurt due to reckless use of a lawnmower, or lawnmower malfunction, in the Providence, Rhode Island area, seek out the help of an experienced injury attorney. A skilled personal injury lawyer like David Tapalian can help victims of injuries such as lawnmower accidents, car accidents, pedestrian accidents, slip and falls, and other types of accidents, seek the restitution and damages they are entitled to. Don’t underestimate the impact getting injured can have on your future and that of your family. Call Attorney Tapalian at the personal injury law firm of Tapalian Law today for a free review of your Rhode Island accident case, at 401-552-5000 or visit us online.