Mowing the lawn is a common household task, but it carries risks. A lot of people, including children, are injured annually in lawn mower-related accidents. Most of these accidents can be prevented by following some simple safety tips. This article provides a comprehensive guide on lawn mower safety tips to help you mow your lawn safely.
Understanding Lawn Mower Safety
Lawn mower safety is a crucial aspect of lawn maintenance that is often overlooked. Whether you’re operating a walk-behind mower, a riding lawn mower, or a tractor, it’s essential to understand the potential hazards and how to avoid them.
Lawnmowers, especially when their blades are in motion, can cause serious injuries, including cuts, burns, fractures, and even amputations. Therefore, following safety guidelines when you mow your lawn is crucial. While seemingly mundane, this chore can quickly turn dangerous if not approached with the necessary caution.
What are the Common Lawn Mower-Related Injuries?
Lawnmower-related injuries can range from minor cuts and bruises to severe injuries requiring hospitalization. The most common injuries include cuts and lacerations, often caused by lawn mower blades, fractures, burns from hot parts of the mower, and injuries from projectiles thrown by the mower’s blade.
In severe cases, the mower blade can cause amputations. Children are particularly at risk for severe injuries, often due to being bystanders or passengers on riding mowers.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, it’s not uncommon for a wall to fall toward the mower, posing a significant risk. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure the mowing area is clear of potential hazards before starting the mower.
How Can You Prevent Lawn Mower Injuries?
Now that you know the risks a mower can cause, it’s time to move on. Learn safety tips to avoid any serious injuries. How do you use a lawn mower safely, not exposing yourself and your children to potential threats?
Preventing lawn mower injuries starts with understanding the risks and taking appropriate safety measures. Here are some general safety tips to follow:
Use the Right Safety Equipment
Before you start mowing, make sure you’re wearing proper safety gear. This includes sturdy footwear to protect your feet from the blade and flying debris. Never mow in sandals or barefoot. Wear long pants to protect your legs, and use hearing protection if you’re using a gas-powered mower, as they can be quite loud.
Check Your Lawn Before Mowing
Take a few minutes to check your lawn for any objects that the mower’s blade could throw. This includes stones, toys, and sticks. Also, look for any holes or uneven ground that could cause you to lose control of the mower.
Follow Safe Mowing Practices
When mowing, always push the mower forward, never pull it backward. If you’re using a riding mower, mow up and down the slope, not across, to prevent the mower from tipping over. Never allow children to ride as passengers on riding mowers, and keep children and pets indoors while mowing to prevent them from being struck by flying debris.
What Should You Do If a Lawn Mower Injury Occurs?
Despite your best efforts, accidents can still happen. If a lawn mower injury occurs, seeking medical attention immediately is essential, even if the injury seems minor. Cuts from mower blades can be deep and can cause significant damage to muscles, tendons, and nerves. They also have a high risk of infection due to the dirt and bacteria that can be present on the mower blade.
How to Maintain Your Lawn Mower for Safety?
Proper lawn mower maintenance is also an essential part of lawn mower safety. A well-maintained mower is less likely to malfunction and cause an accident. Here are some maintenance tips:
Regularly Check and Sharpen the Blade
A dull mower blade can cause the mower to operate inefficiently and create ragged cuts that make your lawn more susceptible to disease. Regularly check your mower blade for sharpness and damage, and have it sharpened or replaced as needed.
Clean the Mower Regularly
After each use, clean grass clippings and other debris from the mower. Built-up clippings can interfere with the mower’s operation and pose a fire hazard. Before cleaning, remove the spark plug to prevent the mower from accidentally starting.
Regularly Check for Loose or Damaged Parts
Before each use, check the mower for any loose or damaged parts. This includes the blade, handles, and wheels on a walk-behind mower and the belts and other moving parts on a riding mower. Replace or repair any damaged parts before using the mower.
What are Some Safety Tips for Children and Lawn Mowers?
Children are at a higher risk for lawn mower-related injuries due to their size and because they may not understand the dangers associated with lawnmowers. Here are some safety tips to protect children:
Keep Children Indoors While Mowing
Children should stay indoors and under supervision while the lawn is being mowed. Never allow children to play near a running lawn mower, even if it’s not in use.
Do Not Allow Children to Operate Lawn Mowers
Children should not be allowed to operate a lawn mower until they are old enough to understand the dangers and safely handle the equipment. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children be at least 12 years old to operate a walk-behind mower and at least 16 years old to use a riding mower.
Teach Children About Lawn Mower Safety
Even if children are not operating the mower, teaching them about lawn mower safety is essential. Explain the dangers and establish clear rules, such as not touching the mower while it’s running and staying a safe distance away while someone else is mowing.
Conclusion: Stay Safe While Mowing
Lawn mowing is a common task, but it carries risks. Understanding the potential hazards and following these lawn mower safety tips can help prevent accidents and keep yourself and your family safe.
- Always wear proper safety gear, including sturdy footwear and hearing protection.
- Check your lawn for objects and uneven ground before mowing.
- Always push the mower forward, never pull it backward.
- Keep children and pets indoors while mowing.
- Regularly maintain your mower, including checking and sharpening the blade and cleaning off grass clippings.
- Seek immediate medical attention if a lawn mower injury occurs.
- Teach children about lawn mower safety and keep them a safe distance away while mowing.
Frequently Asked Questions: Lawn Mower Safety Tips
What are the safety precautions for lawnmowers?
- Always wear proper footwear, not sandals, while mowing to protect your feet.
- Don’t let children under age 12 operate a push mower or those under 16 operate a riding mower.
- Don’t mow in reverse unless necessary, and always look for children behind you when you mow in reverse.
- Never use a lawn mower in an enclosed space where carbon monoxide can build up.
- 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.
What is the most common lawn mower accident?
The most common lawn mower accidents involve injuries to the hands and feet. These can occur when individuals come in contact with the mower’s sharp blades, often when trying to clear away debris.
What should you not do with a lawn mower?
- Don’t mow across steep slopes; mow up and down to prevent the mower from tipping over.
- Don’t let children ride as passengers on ride-on mowers or garden tractors, as they could fall off and come in contact with the blades.
- Don’t pull the mower backward or mow in reverse unless necessary; carefully look for children behind you when you do.
Are lawnmowers safe for kids?
Lawnmowers can be dangerous for children. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that children should be supervised while lawn mowing and should not operate the machines. It’s also essential to keep young children indoors during lawn mowing to prevent them from getting injured by flying debris or the mower itself.
How do lawnmower accidents happen?
Lawnmower accidents can happen in several ways. One common scenario is when the operator comes into contact with the mower’s sharp blades, often when trying to clear away debris or unblock the discharge chute without first turning off the mower. Accidents can also occur if the mower tips over while being used on a steep slope or if the operator slips under the mower while trying to pull it backward. Additionally, the mower can pick up and throw stones, toys, and other debris, potentially injuring bystanders or causing property damage.