An incident in Memphis, Michigan is drawing attention to the danger posed by riding lawnmowers. A two year old boy lost a leg and foot on June 9th, 2018, after falling off a lawnmower being piloted by his grandfather. The child fell under the whirring blade of the machine, and was rushed to the hospital. Though the toddler survived, the impact of the injuries will clearly affect him for the rest of his life.
Though both riding and push lawnmowers are responsible for thousands of injuries to children per year, the larger models are more often associated with amputation and death. Lawnmower accidents are fairly common, with over 80,000 incidents a year, and over 7500 incidents involving children.
Riding lawnmowers could be made safer for children, though current models often possess design flaws such as:
- Insufficient side guards to prevent a child from being pulled under the machine, or which leave the blades exposed from the side
- Insufficient roll bars to prevent the machine from rolling over, a very significant risk when mowing uneven lawns
- Proper seating with proper seatbelts to hold the operator and riders in the vehicle at all times
No person should have to risk life or limb to mow a large lawn, and children particularly must be protected. Though parents can take steps to minimize risks such as keeping kids indoors when the lawn is being mowed, children can be difficult to keep track of. Just as pools are fenced to lower the chances of a child drowning, riding lawnmowers should be designed and crafted with fail-safes to address worst case scenarios.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a lawnmower accident, recognizing ways in which the design of the machine might have contributed to the incident is important. Please, consult with an experienced attorney regarding your case.