As spring arrives and grass emerges from beneath the cold winter snow, many people across the country will be pulling out their lawn mowers. But did you know that 75 people are killed each year as a result of lawn mower accidents, and 20,000 are injured? The risks are especially high for children: 800 kids are run over by lawn mowers yearly in the US, and 600 of those incidents result in amputation. In fact, for children under the age of 10, major limb loss is most commonly caused by lawn mower accidents.
Keep yourself and your family safe around lawn mowers with the following safety tips:
First and foremost: Keep children and pets indoors while mowing the lawn.
Do not allow them to play nearby until you are finished and the lawn mower is put away. Besides the risk of accidentally running them over, children or pets can be injured by projectiles like rocks, golf balls and small toys.
Never allow children to play on a lawn mower.
Even if the mower is turned off, children can cut themselves on the stationery blades in an instant. A child should be at least 12 years of age before operating a push lawn mower.
Never allow a child to ride on a riding mower with you.
In a split second, children can lose their balance and fall to the ground in the direct path of the blades. Moments of fun riding the mower are not worth the potential risk of death or serious injury. Children should be at least 16 before operating a riding lawn mower.
Before you mow…
- Make sure children and pets are indoors safely.
- Pick up debris, toys and rocks from the lawn to prevent flying objects.
- Wear close-toed shoes, not sandals or flip flops.
- Use eye and ear protection.
- Only refuel the motor when it is cooled off and turned down.
While you mow…
- For push mowers, only use mowers that have automatic shut off abilities, such as those that stop all motion when the handle is released.
- For riding mowers. make sure your mower includes an auto shut off when the rider is not in the seat.
- Do not remove the grass catcher or unclog the discharge shoot until the mower is completely shut off.
- Make sure you and your children stay away from the exhaust. A lawn mower can reach up to 240 degrees Fahrenheit, and anyone near the exhaust could suffer a severe burn.
- Be careful of hills and sharp corners. Accidents can happen if a mower tips over.
- After you mow, turn off the mower completely and put it out of reach of children while it cools off.
Protect you and your family this season and practice lawn mower safety so that you and your children don’t become a statistic!