CHICAGO – Mowing the lawn may not seem like a particularly hazardous job, but each spring and summer, many people find themselves in terrifying situations with these seemingly safe household machines.
In fact, 200,000 people – 16,000 of them children – are injured in lawn mower-related accidents each year, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports. However, lawn mowers don’t “attack” on their own. Most injuries, such as severed fingers and toes, limb amputations, broken bones, burns and eye injuries, are caused by careless use and can be prevented by following a few simple safety tips.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons (ASMS), the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), and the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery (ASRM) have teamed up to prevent injuries and to educate adults and children about the importance of lawn mower safety during National Safety Month, June 2009.
Help prevent lawn mower-related injuries by following these tips:
• Children should be at least 12 years old before they operate any lawn mower, and at least 16 years old for a ride-on mower.
• Children should never be passengers on ride-on mowers.
• Always wear sturdy shoes while mowing – not sandals.
• Young children should be at a safe distance from the mowing area.
• Pick up stones, toys and debris first from the lawn to prevent injuries from flying objects.
• Always wear eye and hearing protection.
• Use a mower with a control that stops it from moving forward if the handle is released.
• Never pull backward or mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary – always look for others behind you when you do.
• Start and refuel mowers outdoors – not in a garage. Refuel with the motor turned off and cool.
• Blade settings should be set by an adult only.
• Wait for blades to stop completely before removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, or crossing gravel roads. (As a safety feature, some newer models have a blade/brake clutch that stops the blade each time the operator releases the handle.)