Reap What You Mow: The Basics of Lawn Mower Safety
A nicely manicured lawn is what many homeowners strive for in the spring and summer months. But lawn mowers can be dangerous, even deadly — especially so for children. Spinning blades, flying objects and runaway machines pose serious risks to you and your family. However, you can keep yourself and your children safe by following some simple guidelines.
- Read — and follow — your mower’s instruction manual. Keep your lawn mower in good condition with regular maintenance; make sure all safety equipment is in place.
- Do a once-over of the lawn before you begin mowing. Pick up any items, such as branches, twigs or stones, that can get launched by the lawn mower.
- Wear appropriate clothing — including closed-toe shoes and snug-fitting clothes.
- Don't allow your children to ride as passengers on ride-on mowers.
- Don’t mow the lawn in bad weather or if it’s getting dark.
- Don’t mow wet grass.
- Remember that mowers can throw objects great distances at high speed. Don’t even start the lawn mower until you’re sure your children are safely away from the mowing area, well out of range.
- Don’t assume that just because you shooed them away, your children won’t wander back. Kids love machinery, and lawn mowers are no exception. Make sure they stay off the lawn. Avoid mowing in reverse whenever possible, and if you must back up, check behind you before you do.
- Be sure to turn your mower off right away if it strikes an object. If the mower is damaged, don’t use it until it has been fixed.
Note: Children less than 12 years of age should never use a walk-behind or hand mower. To operate a ride-on mower, children must be at least 16 years old. Be sure to teach your child how to use the lawn mower safely. Supervise his work until you are certain he can do it solo.
Reviewed by: Patrick S. Pasquariello Jr., MD
Date: March 2013