Every day in the United States, a child undergoes an amputation due to a lawn mower accident. Over eight hundred accidents occur annually, with six hundred of those accidents resulting in an amputation.
Kelli Firouzi of Milan knows first-hand the devastation of these accidents. Her son, Tyler, was a victim of a lawn mowing tragedy.
An unexpected tragedy
Tyler’s accident happened in 2014, when he was just five years old. “We just got home from our city carnival where Tyler got a marshmallow gun,” Firouzi recalled. “He was so excited to play with it, and I had him sit in the house while his Dad, Sean, went outside to mow the lawn.”
Firouzi began to do the laundry, unaware that her son snuck out the front door to surprise his father. As he snuck up behind his father to shoot him with the marshmallow gun, his father, unaware of Tyler’s presence, put the lawn mower in reverse.
“All I remember is hearing God awful screams as I was trying to fold laundry. Then Sean brought Tyler in the house and laid him on the kitchen floor. There was blood all over the place and part of his foot was gone. I was in shock. Tyler was in shock,” Firouzi said.
Emergency Medical services and fire fighters came, rushing Tyler to University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, where Firouzi said he received wonderful care. After four days in the hospital, Tyler spent the remainder of the summer recovering.
In 2015, Tyler and his family filmed a public service announcement for Limbs Matter, a national organization that advocates for lawn mower safety. They continue to work with the organization to educate parents on accident prevention. Today, Tyler is a nine year old who attends Symons Elementary in Milan. He enjoys basketball, soccer, and speed skating.
Teaching families safe practices
Bethany Folsom is the Coordinator for Safe Kids Huron Valley, as well as the Health Educator for the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention Program. She educates families on safety protocols, and lawn mower safety is one of many topics that are discussed as part of the summer season curriculum.
“While lawnmower injuries may seem infrequent, the injuries that we see are often devastating to both the child and families,” she said. “These injuries often result in partial or complete amputations and/or extensive bone, muscle, ligament and vascular structure damage. These injuries can affect the child’s ability to walk or play and requires months or even years of repair and rehabilitation.”
“These cases are devastating and heartbreaking, not only for the child and their family, but also for the individual who was operating the machine when the incident occurred.”
Keep children indoors
When mowing the lawn, Folsom says that it is best to keep children indoors or well out of the way. She also recommends that children never play on a mower or ride as a passenger.
“When thinking about the safety of children around lawnmowers, it’s not just preventing kids from being run over that is the focus. It is recommended to clear any objects like stones, toys, or sticks before starting to mow, but many times these items are missed and can be picked up and thrown by a lawn mower. These objects become projectiles and can cause injury to people of all ages.”
For more information on lawn mower safety, parents can visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website healthychildren.org.
To learn more about the mission of Limbs Matter, and to view the public service announcement, visit the website at limbsmatter.com.