5 Questions: Mowing safety
Avoid accidents when cutting grass
As summer temperatures moderate and rain creeps into the forecast, mowing the grass will continue to be a regular chore. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the power lawn mower is one of the most dangerous tools around the home, and safety precautions are necessary.
Safe Kids Kansas answers questions about lawn mower safety.
Q: Is lawn mower safety really an issue?
A: 253,000 people were treated for lawn mower-related injuries in 2010, nearly 17,000 of them children under age 19, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Q: What kind of injuries?
A: Lawn mower injuries include deep cuts, loss of fingers and toes, broken and dislocated bones, burns and eye and other injuries. Some injuries are serious. Both users of mowers and those who are nearby can be hurt.
Q: How old should a child be before he or she can use a lawn mower?
A: Children younger than 16 years should not be allowed to use ride-on mowers. Children younger than 12 should not use walk-behind mowers.
Q: Any general safety tips for mowing or being around mowers?
A: Make sure that sturdy shoes (not sandals or sneakers) are worn while mowing. Prevent injuries from flying objects, such as stones or toys, by picking up objects from the lawn before mowing begins. Use a collection bag for grass clippings or a plate that covers the opening where cut grass is released. Have anyone who uses a mower wear hearing and eye protection. Make sure that children are indoors or at a safe distance well away from the area that you plan to mow.
Q: What about starting and stopping mowers?
A: Start and refuel mowers outdoors, not in a garage or shed. Mowers should be refueled with the motor turned off and cool. Always turn off the mower and wait for the blades to stop completely before removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, or crossing gravel paths, roads, or other areas. Make sure that blade settings (to set the wheel height or dislodge debris) are done by an adult, with the mower off and the spark plug removed or disconnected.