Lawn Mowing Causes Lots of Foot Injuries. Here’s How to Stay Safe!

Lawn Mowing Safety

One of the most common machines in your shed or garage is also one of the most dangerous. Walk-behind and power lawn mowers are extremely hazardous if not used properly.

Emergency rooms in the U.S. treat an average of 35,000 people each year for lawn mower injuries. More than 6,000 of those injuries are severe. About 20% of those injuries are foot injuries.

Possible Injuries

Lawn mower blades spin at 3,000 revolutions per minute, or in the range of 200 mph. Despite that, some people actually mow the lawn while barefoot! Foot injuries include deep cuts and possible infection, severed tendons, fractures, burns, and amputated toes. Lacerations are most common, followed by fractures and amputations.

Child Victims

Lawn Mowing SafetyMore than 8,000 children visit emergency rooms each year for mower injuries. The majority are older kids and teenagers who mostly suffer injuries to the upper extremities, but 25% of victims are younger than 6 years old. An analysis published in Public Health Reports shows children up to age 4 were six times more likely to have a foot, toe, or lower extremity injury and nearly twice as likely to need an amputation than those 15 and older.

And studies show that half of lawn mower injuries involving children require amputation. Boys make up the majority of kids who are injured. Fifty-five percent involve riding mowers. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children be at least 12 years old before operating a push mower and 16 for a riding mower.

How Injuries Happen

You can blame several factors for foot and ankle injuries while mowing. They can happen when someone is pulling the mower backward or pulling it up a slope. Mowing in wet or damp grass is also dangerous, as your foot can slip and go under the mower. Injuries to children can happen when a child runs into the yard, unnoticed by the person mowing, and is struck by the mower. They can also happen to a child sitting on the lap of the person driving a riding mower when their legs and feet get too close to the blades.

Tips to Prevent Lawn Mower Injuries

The vast majority of lawn mower injuries are preventable. It takes common sense and following some simple rules.

  • Wear heavy shoes or work boots when mowing. Never wear sneakers or sandals.
  • Always mow moving forward, not in reverse.
  • Don’t mow wet grass.
  • Don’t pull a running mower behind you.
  • Push a mower across slopes, not up and down.
  • Riding mowers, however, should go up and down on a slope, so they don’t tip over.
  • Never allow children to be passengers on a riding mower.
  • Keep children indoors when mowing. Don’t let them play outside. Discuss the importance of this with them.
  • Don’t let kids play with mowers, even if they’re off.
  • Don’t remove the grass catcher or unclog the discharge chute while the mower is running.
  • Turn it off and wait for the mower to cool down before adding gas.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Tall grass can hide holes and pits that could cause you to trip or stumble.
  • Use mowers with automatic shut-off abilities.
  • Stay away from the exhaust to avoid burns.

If you suffer any type of injury to your foot or ankle while mowing, have it treated immediately. Dirt and grass can get into lacerations, causing infection. Serious injuries need to be seen by a doctor.

Jacob Palmer is a gardening and landscape design writer. When mowing lawns on his street as a child, he discovered a lifelong passion for landscape design. He now has three children who can all be found helping him most weekends with his next big garden project.

Why choose University Foot and Ankle Institute for your foot and ankle care?

If you’re experiencing foot problems, we’re here to help. Our nationally recognized foot and ankle specialists offer the most advanced podiatric care and the highest success rates in the nation. We are leaders in the research and treatment of all foot and ankle conditions.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call (877) 736-6001 or visit us here to make an appointment online.

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