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May 2017
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Stay safe: Use caution when mowing the lawn

Be sure to dress for the job when moving the lawn. Wear substantial shoes and protect your sight and hearing. ©mBaba760/canstockphoto.com

Be sure to dress for the job when moving the lawn. Wear substantial shoes and protect your sight and hearing. ©mBaba760/canstockphoto.com

The other day, I saw a what appeared to be a father and son mowing the lawn. The dad pushed a gasoline-powered mower. The little boy pushed a toy mower and walked right behind his dad.

There’s a lot wrong with this cute image and I’m not even mentioning that the dad was wearing flip-flops.

About 250,000 people are treated annually for lawn mower related injuries, including about 17,000 children, according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Injuries include cuts, maiming or amputations from mower blades and burns from the engine. People are injured by projectiles, such as rocks and sticks, thrown from the mower. About 90 deaths are attributed to riding mowers that overturn. A 17-year-old Kosciusko County boy was killed in April when his clothing got caught up in the mower he was working on.

AAP recommends that children be at least 12 years old before operating a walk-behind mower and 16 years old to operate riding equipment. Of course, the kids (and adults) need to be trained on how to use the equipment. Here are some other tips for lawn mower safety from the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute:

  • Don’t mow when the lawn is wet.
  • Make sure children and pets are out of the area. It’s best if they are indoors.
  • Clear the area of any objects that could be thrown by the mower or caught in the blades, such as branches, stones and toys.
  • Make sure the mower is operating properly and that guards and safety devices have not been tampered with.
  • Dress properly. Wear substantial shoes, hearing protection and safety glasses.
  • Allow the engine to cool before refueling.
  • Use caution when mowing hills and slopes. It’s easy to lose your footing, which can cause people to slip and fall into the mower blades or engine. Most deaths from riding mowers are caused when the equipment falls over and crushes or runs over its operator.

 

For more information about operating power equipment safely and tips visit opei.org.

When mowing, remember not to remove more than one-third of the lawn blade at a time. If the grass is 4 inches tall, mow to 3 inches. Keep the lawn at 3 to 4 inches to shade the soil, keeping it cool and reducing opportunities for weeds to take hold. Cutting the lawn too short opens it up for sunscald, drought damage and overall weakened condition.

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