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Lawnmower Injuries on the Rise

Guest : Ryan Stanton, MD
Summary: When doing yard work, what are the best things you can do to keep your limbs safe while still getting the job done?
Air Date: 6/6/14
Duration: 10
Host: Leigh Vinocur, MD
Lawnmower Injuries on the Rise
More than 250,000 people were treated for lawn mower-related injuries last year, and the incidence of these injuries is on the rise.

Kids under 19 account for 17,000 of these injuries every year, but adults are mostly affected.

Injuries often result from interactions with the blade. Remember, the blade doesn't turn off instantaneously. Furthermore, it doesn't even have to be "spinning" to cause damage, especially if it's just been sharpened and you're working with it while idle.

Amputation results from many of these injuries, as hands/fingers and feet are often the most affected. There aren't many hand surgeons available that can even handle this type of injury.

Also, there is a high risk of infection from cuts and lacerations, because of all the grass, dirt and debris that can enter the wound from an injury caused by the blade.

Muscles, nerves, tendons, bones, skin can be affected. Reattachment of lost limbs is also made difficult by the risk of infection.

So, given that statistic, what are the best things you can do to keep your limbs safe while still getting the job done?

The more "hard" objects you can put between yourself and the mower, the better. Hard-sole shoes that have some stability are essential, and long pants are recommended.

Make sure the lawnmower is functioning properly and that the blade is completely stopped before addressing any issues.

Kids should never be around lawn mowing, whether they're riding on the mower with you, or just helping you pick up sticks in the yard. Teach your kids safety and the rules around the mower.

Also, don't leave the mower unattended while it's running. Most riding lawnmowers have seat sensors that will stop the blade if you step off. But some individuals choose to disengage that safety function, a mistake that can put you at risk. Finally, safety goggles/glasses are also a good idea to protect your eyes from rocks, sticks and anything that might shoot out.

Doing yard work can be enjoyable, so make sure you're not putting yourself or any of your loved ones at risk. In this segment, Dr. Ryan Stanton joins Dr. Leigh to discuss the dangers of mowers, as well as simple ways you can make sure no one in your family ends up in the ER.