Young children are at the greatest risk for devastating injuries, reconstructive surgery, permanent disfigurement and disability, or even amputation of a body part.
Play an active role in preventing lawn mower injuries: follow these tips to keep you and your family safe.
Keep kids inside when you use a lawn mower.
It’s the most important thing you can do to keep children safe.
When a lawn mower is running, you can’t hear or see your child if he or she is behind you. You might accidentally run over your child’s hand or foot if he or she is playing too close to the mower. Your child could slip under the mower if the lawn is wet. Sadly, we recently amputated the leg of a seven-year-old boy whose grandfather accidentally ran over him with a lawn mower.
Before you mow, check your lawn for toys, rocks, or sticks.
A stick or a stone may fly out of the mower and strike you or your child. Think about this: Objects coming out of a lawn mower chute travel more than 200 miles per hour. Cut low-lying limbs and branches from trees, too.
Don’t let children ride on lawn mowers with you.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that children be at least 12 before operating a push lawn mower and 16 before using a riding lawn mower.
Many of the injuries we see involve a child who is backed over by a riding mower. Riding mowers are required by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to allow the mowing blade to disengage while in reverse, but this is not true for older models (pre-2003).
Riding mowers are not designed for two people. You may think your child is safe in your lap, but he or she could fall off and slide under the mower. Although most mowers have a safety feature that stops the engine when the rider falls off, that feature is only be activated if you fall off – not your child.
Dress for safety.
Wear boots, not sandals or flip-flops. Wear protective eyewear, long pants and hard-toed shoes.
Let’s your lawn mower cool when it runs out of gas.
Experts say that the exhaust from a lawn mower can reach more than 240 degrees. When you run out of gas, let the lawn mower cool before you put more gas in.