American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Offers Lawnmower Safety Tips

Keeping the lawn nice and trimmed is not the backbreaking chore it used to be, thanks to riding and traditional mowers, but lawn mowers can still be dangerous, said the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), who advises people to exercise extreme caution when operating these tools.

Thousands of Americans suffer deep cuts and lacerations, sprains and strains, fractures, and even loss of fingers and toes due to improper use of a lawn mower each year, AAOS said.

More than 210,000 people--including approximately 16,000 children--were treated in doctors' offices, clinics, and emergency rooms for lawn mower-related injuries in 2007, according to the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission.

"A lawn mower is not a toy and in fact, it can be dangerous if not used properly," said Lori Karol, MD, pediatric orthopaedic surgeon and AAOS spokesperson. "It's important to follow the proper precautions when using these powerful machines, including teaching kids to stay away from any and all running lawn mowers. Children should never be allowed to ride on the mower, even with parents."

Most injuries sustained from lawn mower use and treated by orthopaedic surgeons are preventable. To eliminate lawn mower-related injuries, AAOS recommends the following safety guidelines:

  • When using a lawn mower for the first time in a season, have it serviced to ensure it's working correctly.
  • Do not remove safety devices, shields, or guards on switches.
  • Add fuel before starting the engine, not when it's running or hot.
  • Hands and feet should never be used to touch the lawn mower blade under any circumstances, even if the engine seems to be off. Once cleared of an obstruction, the blade can swing around and cause serious bodily harm.

For additional lawn mower injury prevention tips and more, click here.

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