LEE COUNTY, Fla. - In just the last few months, we've reported several stories about children severely injured by lawn mowers in southwest Florida. Tens of thousands of injuries are reported each year in the United States.
The most recent lawn mower accident happened Sunday in Bokeelia. The family has asked us to respect their privacy as their son recovers. We're not going to focus on them but rather, on how you can keep your family safe.
Cutting the grass may seem like a routine chore but, one wrong move could be life-changing.
"Especially with kids, it can be a little more devastating because they are not as familiar with how dangerous a lawn mower can be," Dr. Andrew Belis of the Orthopedic Center of Florida said.
Back in april, 2-year-old Ireland Nugent of Palm Harbour had both feet amputated after her father accidentally backed over her with a riding mower.
Last Friday in Hardee County, 4-year-old Makaya Lee's right leg and foot were severely injured when she was run over.
And, on Sunday, a 3-year-old in Bokeelia suffered a severe foot injury when he fell off his bike and a mower backed over him.
"Some can be as simple as accidentally getting it caught," Belis said. "Believe it or not, you see frequently, people try to clean out their lawnmowers with their feet and they think it's safer than their hands. These are not clean injuries. It's not a clean blade. There's dirt, grass, debris. Stuff gets into the wound and it can get infected."
Belis is often called in to surgically care for patients with lawn mower injuries. He says prevention can be as simple as wearing sturdy shoes, tight clothing, not mowing backwards, being aware of your surroundings and keeping children far away.
If you get hurt he advises you don't clean it or try to treat it yourself. "Dry, close to sterile if not sterile dressing, elevating the area and getting medical attention as quickly as possible," Belis said. "Make sure the patient doesn't go into shock either because that can be another problem."
Dr. Belis hopes these recent unfortunate events throughout Florida can bring about more safety and awareness about the dangers and proper use of lawn mowers.