Lawn Mower Safety
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, it is estimated that about 17,720 people were killed and nearly 300,000 were injured on or near riding lawn mowers and other yard and garden equipment in 2009. More than 5,000 young children were injured by lawn mowers in 2009.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offer the following tips to help prevent lawn mower-related injuries:
- 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 area you are mowing.
- Before mowing, pick up stones, toys and debris 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 – carefully 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.
- Avoid driving backwards unless absolutely required, and should be exercised with extreme caution when necessary.
- When purchasing a lawn mower, look for machines that have a forward control mechanism that stops the machine from moving if the handle is released.