March winds, April showers, bring May flowers, (and hay fever) so it’s time break out the allergy medication, ready the lawn mower and start the spring house cleaning!
Do you know that each year emergency rooms treat approximately 75,000 persons with power mower injuries and more than 9,000 of them were children under the age of 18? Older children and adolescents were most often hurt while cutting lawns as part of their chores or as a way to earn money.
Typical injuries include lacerations, tripping and falling over the lawn mower, slipping and falling while mowing, toes amputated from feet slipping under the lawn mower, back injuries from pulling on the cable to start the lawn mower, ankle sprains, shoulder strains, and back pain from pushing the lawn mowers.
Safety practices are often viewed as common sense,-but we often need reminders. Take a few minutes to review these safety suggestions at the beginning of each mowing season.
To prevent lawn mower injuries to children, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following:
- Try to use a mower with a control that stops the mower from moving forward if the handle is let go,
- Children younger than 16 years old should not be allowed to use a ride-on mower. Children younger than 12 years should not use walk-behind mowers.
- Make sure that sturdy shoes (not sandals or sneakers) are worn while mowing.
- Prevent injuries from flying objects, such as stones or toys, by picking up objects from the lawn before mowing begins. Use a collection bag for grass clippings or a plate that covers the discharge chute where cut grass is released.
- Be sure anyone who is using a mower wears hearing and eye protection.
- Make sure that children are indoors or at a safe distance away from the area that you plan to mow.
- Start and refuel mowers outdoors, not in a garage or shed. Mowers should be refueled with the motor turned off and cool.
- Make sure that the blade settings are adjusted by an adult with the mower off and the spark plug removed or disconnected.
- Do not pull the mower backward or mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary. Carefully look for children behind you when you mow in reverse.
- Always turn off the mower and wait for the blades to stop completely before removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, or crossing gravel paths, roads, or other areas.
- Do not allow children to ride as passengers on ride-on mowers.
Also, read the operator’s manual and follow the instructions carefully. Be sure to train anyone operating the mower so that they understand how the mower operates. Remember to store the fuel outside the house and away from any heat source. Gasoline is a volatile flammable liquid.
Reminder, the owner of a lawnmower is responsible for accident or injuries occurring to themselves, other people and property.
Please enjoy the sunshine and fresh air of the upcoming months and keep safety in mind as you go about your chores.