As the winter months (finally) end and the weather warms up, we need to get our lawns in order again. I haven’t written about lawn mower safety in a long time, but as I drive around my neighborhood I’m reminded just how many people don’t realize the dangers.
We need to respect lawn mowers and use them safely.
In 2016, more than 86,000 adults and 4,500 children in the U.S. were treated in emergency departments for injuries related to lawn mowers according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Riding mowers lead to the most injuries, but even walk behind mowers are dangerous.
People can suffer minor and serious cuts, burns, broken bones, eye injuries, loss of limbs, and death. A lawn mower can eject a rock, piece of metal, or wood up to 100 miles per hour, leading to injuries of people in the yard but not near the mower.
- Only use a mower that has protection over hot and sharp parts. Never remove these protective coverings.
- Teach kids to never touch a lawn mower. Many are burned by touching a hot mower, even when it is off.
- Add fuel only to mowers when they are cool and off.
- Never operate a mower when under the influence of alcohol or drugs that impair your level of alertness.
- Never leave a running mower unattended. Turn it off before walking away.
- Wear protective gloves, goggles, sturdy shoes, and long pants when you use lawn mowers. Never mow barefoot or in sandals.
- No one under 16 years should ride on or operate a riding mower.
- Riding mowers should have the reverse switch behind the driver, forcing the driver to look behind when placing the machine in reverse.
- Push mowers should be used only by people over 12 years of age.
- Push mowers should have a control that stops forward motion when the handle is released.
- If children must be in the yard during mowing, they should remain at least 20 feet away at all times. Ideally children should not be allowed in the yard when the grass is being cut due to the possibility of flying debris.
- Remove stones, toys, and debris from the lawn before mowing to prevent injuries from flying objects.
- Mow across slopes with a push mower to avoid pulling the mower over your feet if you happen to slip.
- Mow up and down slopes with a riding mower to prevent the mower from tipping over.
- Do not cut wet grass.
- Use hearing protection. Do not listen to music through your ear buds. The high volume required during mowing is harmful to your hearing.
- Do not talk on your phone when mowing. It is a distraction that can lead to accidents.