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Keep Children Away from Power Mowers

7.29.06

Seattle family is warning others about the danger of riding lawn mowers after one little boy’s life was changed, literally in the blink of an eye.

Six-year-old Ethan Gallmeyer’s grandfather recalls the ride on his lawn mower that brought him to Harborview Medical Center.

“I stuck him up right in front of the steering wheel,” David Gallmeyer said. “We mowed the grass for 10 minutes.”

His mother regrets she didn’t object.

“We just all didn’t think,” Reanna Lilley said. “I mean, none of us did, and it was just stupid.”

“I thought, I’d better get him off of here. made a corner and off he went. and I can still see that lawn mower going up over that little guy’s foot.”

Dr. Benjamin Danielson, of Seattle Children’s Hospital has seen too many preventable mower injuries.

“It can be anything from just the mildest thing that causes just a scrape or a bruise to an actual amputation,” he said.

While riding mowers are the worst culprits, they are all dangerous. Kids can be severely injured by debris thrown by the blades at high speed. Also, mowers stay hot enough to burn after they’re shut off. Most troubling, you cannot hear your child approaching while you’re cutting grass.

Dr. Danielson says if you have kids under 10, consider mowing a two-person job.

“If one person is mowing, it’s really helpful if you have somebody else who can actually be with the child, not just keeping the child out of the yard but actually knowing exactly where that child is so they don’t sneak in,” he said.

Otherwise, the worst could happen

“I can still see him looking up at me with his little foot sliced open,” David Gallmeyer said.

Though Ethan won’t be walking for awhile, a surgeon at Harborview Medical Center was able to save his foot.

“This should also be a wake up call for parents about other gardening tools, especially power tools, that can be fascinating for kids,” Dr. Danielson said.

Ethan’s mother said he’ll go through months of recovery but she hopes he’ll be able to run and play more normally by this time next year.