Davion was sitting on his grandfather's lap as they mowed the lawn. The boy got off the mower after his shoe fell off. He went inside and put it back on, then ran up behind the mower. Davion's grandfather did not see him, and backed right over the 3-year-old.
Three of the toes on Davion's right foot were cut off, as was the top of his right foot. Connie Palmer said she can't believe how lucky her grandson is.
"It is unbelievable," said Palmer. “It could have been so much worse, so much worse. When I got here I realized that this was common."
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics about 9,400 children under the age of 18 go to the ER with mower-related injuries every year. Palmer said she and her family are also getting the word out, allowing Davion to be an example of how bad mower accidents really can be.
Palmer said it is already making a difference to her neighbor.
"My neighbor said ‘You saved my children,’” said Palmer. “He pushes his lawnmower and he lets his kids run along side of him. He said, 'I will never do that again.'"
To prevent lawn mower injuries to children, experts have the following recommendations:
- Make sure that children are indoors or at a safe distance well away from the area that you plan to mow.
- Inspect the lawn before mowing and pick up hidden objects in the grass.
- Do not pull the mower backward or mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary and carefully look for children behind you when you mow in reverse.
- Do not allow children to ride as passengers on riding mowers.
- Children under age 12 should not use walk-behind mowers.
- Children under age 16 should not be allowed to use riding mowers.
- Make sure that sturdy shoes (not sandals or sneakers) are worn while mowing.
- Have anyone who uses a mower wear hearing and eye protection.
- Try to use a mower with a control that stops the mower from moving forward if the handle is let go.
- Always turn off the mower and wait for the blades to stop completely before removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, or crossing gravel paths, roads, or other areas.
- Make sure that blade settings are done by an adult, with the mower off and the spark plug removed or disconnected.
- Start and refuel mowers outdoors, not in a garage or shed. Mowers should be refueled with the motor turned off and cool.
- Use a collection bag for grass clippings or a plate that covers the opening where cut grass is released.