My husband is a bit of a nerd: A cute one, but a nerd nonetheless. The main reason I say this is because he never operates a power tool without wearing safety gear, and I grew up in a family where that sort of thing was scoffed at. If only he knew me back when I rode the family riding mower wearing *gasp* flip flops! As much as I enjoy making fun of his clear lawn-mowing goggles, I’ve got to admit that he’s right (and he loves that).

Today, I read that every year 68,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms for lawn mower-related injuries, and 9,000 of those injuries are suffered by children younger than 18, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

These aren’t all minor injuries either. Yes, among the most common are cuts, infections and scrapes to the skin. But also included on the list are fractures — broken bones! — and even worse, amputations. You can lose a body part. Yikes! So how does a person be safe while mowing?

credit: Horizons Today

credit: Horizons Today

Safe mowing: Use caution when operating equipment around children

If you take one thing away from this post, it’s this:

Don’t assume that if an adult is supervising a child mowing that lawn that he or she is safe.

“One important statistic to remember is that a significant number of these accidents occur among family members,” said Dr. Junichi Tamai, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, which issued a press release about lawn mowing injuries this week. “Most families think that if the child stays with a family member, everything will be okay, but that is not always the case.” Most childhood injuries due to lawn mowers are related to riding mowers, and most are injured in their own yard. The hospital recommends that:

- Children younger than 15 should not be in the yard when someone else is mowing;

- Children younger than 12 should not use walk-behind mowers;

- Children younger than 16 should not be allowed to use ride-on mowers; and

- Children or adults should never be allowed as passengers on riding mowers

I promise to never mock my husband’s goggles again (or his closed-toe shoes, gloves, and habit of turning off the mower before emptying the grass catcher) … and I think I’ll don some safety gear myself next time I take the mower out for a spin. You should, too.