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Lawn Mower Safety Tips

by Marcia Passos Duffy, All About Lawns Columnist

Lawn mowing may seem like a routine and benign household chore, but it can be dangerous--even deadly--if precautions are not taken.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are 200,000 lawn mower related accidents each year, and 16,000 of these involve children. Injuries include severed fingers and toes, limb amputations, burns, broken bones, and eye trauma.

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Lawn Mower Safety Tips

Accidents can be avoided when these safety tips are followed:

  1. Do not let any child under age 12 operate a lawn mower; a child should be at least 16 to operate a ride-on mower, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Children should never be allowed to ride as passengers on a ride-on mower.
  2. Wear sturdy shoes while mowing--avoid sandals or open-toed shoes. Don't wear loose clothing that could be caught up in the mower's blades.
  3. Carefully pick up any debris from the lawn before mowing--toys, stones, sticks, and other items can be turned into deadly projectiles when they contact a mower's blades.
  4. Always wear eye protection and ear protection.
  5. Purchase equipment with safety features, like lawn mowers that stop moving when the handle is released.
  6. Don't pull the mower backwards or mow in reverse--if you must do so, make sure you look behind you.
  7. Never operate or refuel a mower inside a garage--always do this outdoors. Make sure the motor is turned off and is cooled before refueling.

Many lawn mower injuries involve the hands, fingers, or wrist. Whenever you clean or touch the motor or blades, ensure that the engine is off and the mower blades have come to a complete stop.

For additional safety tips specific to riding lawn mowers, visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's report on riding lawn mower safety.

About the Author

Marcia Passos Duffy is a freelance writer and a member of the Garden Writers Association. She is a frequent contributor to Turf Magazine and Growing Magazine. Visit her site at www.backporchpublishing.com

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