Landscaping chores raise risk of summer accidents

With the weather warming up, practice some basic safety measures as you pull out the mower and the electric shears to refresh your landscape.

More than 200,000 people a year are injured in accidents related to lawn and garden tools, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of that total, about 16,000 of those injured (8 percent) are younger than 19 years of age. The U.S. Amputee Coalition reports that lawn mower accidents remain the No.1 cause of amputations for children under 10.

“If people concentrate on the task at hand and use common sense when operating machinery, many of these injuries can be prevented,” says Dr. Maureen Finnegan, an orthopaedic surgeon at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Start by wearing sturdy shoes rather than sandals or flip-flops. Before mowing, check the yard for potential problems like rocks and sticks that could be ejected by the whirling blades.

“Always turn off the mower before you clear the blades if something is caught, so it doesn't end up being your fingers that are caught,” Dr. Finnegan says.

“If you do accidentally sever a finger or toe, it’s important to cleanse the amputated part with saline water, wrap it in gauze, and put in a watertight bag,” she says. “Place the bag over ice and take it with you to the emergency room.”

Visit UTSW Medicine to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in orthopaedic surgery.

June is Home Safety Month.

Media Contact: Russell Rian