Lawnmower Safety

62.lawnmower.jpgUsing a lawn mower is as routine as bike riding or barbeques during summer months. But people can 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. Most injuries are caused by careless use and can be prevented by following a few simple safety tips.
“Power lawn mowers are dangerous adult tools, but many children, and sometimes adults unfortunately, see them as toys,” said ASPS President John Canady, MD. “Lawn mowing can be dangerous to the operator as well as those nearby if proper safety precautions aren’t taken.”
The following tips will 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 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.)

To read the AAP policy statement, “Lawn Mower-Related Injuries to Children,” click here.

This information is sponsored by a coalition of the following organizations: 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).

What chores do you involve your children in during the summer?