Cut the Grass, Not Your

Last Edited: Friday, 17 Apr 2009, 10:21 PM EDT
Created On: Friday, 17 Apr 2009, 10:18 PM EDT

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. - While training to be an orthopedic surgeon, I developed a healthy fear of a variety of motor vehicles (motorcycles and ATVs) and household appliances (garbage disposals, snow blowers, lawnmowers).

Almost 100,000 people in the U.S. are treated each year for lawnmower injuries. Almost a quarter of these involve the wrist, hand or fingers, while about 15% involve the ankle, foot or toes.

Unfortunately, many of these result in amputations.

Here are a few ways to keep you and your loved ones safe from the lawn monster…

Before you start:

-- Children should not be in the yard while the lawnmower is being used.

-- Children should not be using the lawnmower.

-- Do not lift the mower by the bottom; the blades are sharp and can cut even when the power is off! (I have a patient who unfortunately can attest to this…)

While you are mowing:

-- Only the operator should be on a riding lawnmower; people (especially children) do fall off and get hurt!

-- Wear protective clothing, boots, and eye goggles while mowing.

If there is a problem:

-- Do not use your fingers to clear the blades!

-- Make sure that the power if OFF before you inspect or repair the equipment.

-- Do not tamper with safety release switches; they are there for a reason.

Of all the gardening tasks that cause orthopedic problems, this is the big one. And if you’ve developed that healthy fear like I have, find someone who hasn’t!