Lawnmowers: An Everyday Danger?

In 2013, a little girl from Palm Harbor made national headlines after being involved in a horrific lawnmower accident. Her survival story is an inspiring tale of hope and community, but also serves as a sobering reminder that accidents can happen anywhere, even in your own yard.

On the day of her accident, Ireland Nugent, who was two years old at the time, was supposed to be inside while her father mowed the lawn. But like playful and ambitious toddlers are wont to do, she somehow slipped outside. Unaware that his daughter had entered the yard, her father accidentally backed over her with his lawnmower, severing both her feet below the ankles.

Thankfully, Ireland survived this traumatic accident, although she remained in the hospital for several days and required numerous surgeries. As she recovered, her community rallied around her. They wrote her cards, provided support to her stunned and grieving family, and began to raise money for prosthetics.

Ireland is now thriving. With the use of prosthetics, she can walk again, and started school this fall. She might not remember the accident, but is still an inspiration for everyone around her. In fact, Ireland’s mother is facing her own amputation due to an infection, and says her daughter’s courage and resilience motivates her every day.

Serious lawnmower accidents are rare, but not entirely unheard of. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, 12,000 children were injured by lawnmowers in 2015. Many of these injuries were burns and cuts. While not always life-threatening, cuts and burns can still be painful and require immediate care, and can leave permanent scarring or other damage.

None of this means you should stop mowing your lawn! It does mean, however, that it’s important to always be careful. Here are some steps you can take to prevent a close-call:

Before Mowing

  • Make sure children (and animals, too!) are indoors while you are mowing, or at least a safe distance away
  • If rain or darkness hinders your visibility, wait until the weather improves
  • Clear the mowing area of any objects, like rocks or children’s toys, that could be thrown by the blades
  • Before using a new lawnmower for the first time, read the owner’s manual


  • For your own protection, wear sturdy, closed-toes shoes, close-fitting clothes, safety goggles, and hearing protection
  • Watch out for any objects in your path, and reminded that tall grass could hide things in your path
  • Be careful when approaching corners, trees, or anything else that might obscure your view
  • Unless you have to, do not move the lawnmower backwards or mow in reverse, and always look behind you before backing up
  • If you hit an object, stop the lawnmower
  • If your lawnmowers gets damaged at any point, or if you think it has a defect, stop using it immediately


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.


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