A lawn mower accident that injured a Fremont 3-year-old has prompted Children's Hospital and Medical Center to offer safety tips to parents.
"Lawn mower injuries can be truly devastating, causing children to lose fingers, toes, hands, feet or even limbs," said Dr. Thomas Deegan, emergency department physician and associate medical director of trauma at Children's Hospital.
Douglas County Sheriff's Office reported Carter Geddings was injured Monday when he was run over by a riding lawn mower in the Elkhorn area. Reports said he lost a toe on his right foot and part of his left leg was mangled.
Carter was being treated at Creighton University Medical Center. The family had requested no information be released to the media.
The American Academy of Pediatrics said emergency departments treat approximately 68,000 people with mower-related injuries each year. More than 9,000 of those injuries affect individuals under the age of 18.
Accidents often involve young children who fall from a riding mower while sitting with a parent or grandparent. Unattended mowers are another cause of injury.
"In general, if the lawn mower is running - children shouldn't be anywhere near it," Deegan said. "The risk of suffering a serious injury with lifelong consequences is just too high."
The academy offered these safety tips:
* Do not allow children to be passengers on riding mowers or garden tractors.
* Clear the mowing area of any objects such as twigs, stones and toys that could be picked up and thrown by the mower blades.
* Be aware of where children are; keep them indoors or make sure they are a safe distance away from the area you plan to mow.
* Make sure protective guards, shields, the grass catcher and other safety equipment are placed properly on the mower.
* Do not pull the mower backwards or mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary.
* Use caution when mowing on a slope.
* Always turn off the mower and wait for the blades to stop completely before crossing gravel paths, removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, or walking away from the mower.
* Wear sturdy shoes while mowing, not sandals.
* Start and refuel the mower outdoors, not in a garage. The engine should be turned off and allowed to cool.