Tips for staying safe during lawn mowing season

Published: May. 4, 2017 at 10:26 PM CDT
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A 4-year-old in Sioux Falls in expected to be okay after being injured in a lawn mower accident this afternoon. Neighbors tell us at least two of the girl's toes were severed after being run over by a mower around 1:30 p.m.. The girl was responsive when the ambulance picked her up.

With a traumatic injury already happening so early in the year, it's important for people to remember a few safety tips before starting up the mower.

"Make sure that the mower is in good mechanical condition; make sure you've had the oil changed; and make sure you're using fresh gas so that thing starts easily," aids Rick Swanson, a category purchaser with Lawn & Garden as well as Sporting Goods for Nyberg's Ace on 41st and Minnesota.

Being cautious with your hands and feet around the mowing deck is important, too. The blade is just inside the outer deck, so you don't have to go too far under the deck before you find yourself in a bit of trouble.. and pain.

Injuries from a lawn mower accident can be brutal. Losing fingers or toes are two things that can easily happen. Having this happen to a child would require a more delicate surgery compared to an adult. But, it really all depends on how much damage the tissue received and seeing how the blood is flowing to the finger or toe.

But what kind of psychological damage can it cause?

"In this case with limbs, typically if you lose a toe or part of your foot, it changes the way you walk and limits the things that you can do," explains David Axtman, a physician assistant at Quick Health Urgent Care.

Children and pets can be a danger for anyone when mowing. They can easily sneak up on someone and get hurt before anyone knows it. Kids can be pretty rambunctious at times. They're outside to let off some energy and experts in lawn care don't recommend mowing when there are children around.

As for the incident that happened today, "nobody knew it was going to happen. It was just one of those accidents where it can happen quickly," says Dawn Tribitt, the neighbor of the girl who lost her toes.

Doctors also want to urge residents to clean up their yard before they start to mow. Sticks and rocks can become "land missiles," which can cause other serious injuries to those around you. Wearing proper clothing, like long pants and closed-toe shoes, is another safety tip to keep in mind. Being aware of yourself and your surroundings can reduce the amount of pain when mowing your lawn.