A lawnmower? Seriously! Find the little people a different job to do for you. Recent (US) research has found about 16 mower-related accidents per state, per year. Most of them (unsurprisingly) in the warm months from April to September. About ¾ of them could have been prevented. If you have (or care for) kids you’ll know they are easily distracted – which can have serious consequences if they’re trying to use a mower at that moment. More than half the reported injuries needed an amputation.
Lawnmower Injuries? How?
The mower blade often doesn’t seem that sharp, but think about the speed of it travelling. The very tip of a rotating blade is moving faster than a speeding bullet – literally. Which makes “the injuries we see not just lacerations, they’re more like an explosion or blast injury” says Dr Armstrong, the researcher. About half the injuries come from ride-on and half from push mowers. 8 out of 10 happen to boys.
Mower Injury Prevention
There are in fact guidelines to prevent lawnmower injuries in children, which have been around since 2001:
- No kids under 12 should use a push mower
- No kids under 16 should use a ride on mower
- Kids under 6 should be indoors at all times a mower is in use
“children should not operate lawn mowers until they have displayed appropriate levels of judgement, strength, coordination, and maturity necessary for their safe operation.”
We are all about first aid after all, so what would you do for a kid with a lawnmower injury? Here are our guidelines – depending on the severity of the injury, of course.
- Turn off the mower. (If you didn’t know “Check for safety” comes first, slap yourself all the way back to the classroom and get some training.) Secure it so no one else can come and turn it back on accidentally!
- Comfort the child. Position appropriately, which may be lying down, depending on blood loss and how faint they feel.
- Assess the need to call an ambulance – do so if necessary.
- Apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Don’t apply pressure to any broken bones or if it causes undue pain, but you need to stop the blood flow.
- Bandage appropriately. If there are broken bones, this may involve stabilising the injury.
- If there is an amputated body part, wrap it in a sterile dressing, then a towel, then a plastic bag and then ice. (See your book for full details, or remember what we did in class.)
- Off to hospital, clinic, or further care as appropriate.