Avoiding lawn mower injuries

By • Published: July 13th, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

With summer in full swing, your neighborhood is likely abuzz with people enjoying delightful outdoor activities such as a stroll under the warm sun. Others stick closer to home and hit the yard for a game of catch with their kids. But summer also brings that lengthy chore checklist, at least when it comes to keeping up with your lawn.

Using a lawn mower is as routine as riding a bike for many, but not for the two hundred thousand people who are injured each year in lawn mower-related accidents. Lawn mowing injuries can be devastating. They include severing a finger or a toe, losing a limb, burns and eye injuries.

But health-care professionals say most of these accidents are avoidable. How best to steer clear? Follow some simple safety precautions. Experts recommend that you always wear hearing and eye protection along with sturdy shoes while mowing, and never use sandals. They suggest picking up stones, toys and debris from the lawn to prevent injuries from flying objects. And wait for blades to stop completely before removing a grass catcher or trying to unclog a discharge chute.

Letting your kids mow the lawn for some extra summer spending money seems innocent enough, but no parent wants a beautiful summer day to turn into a tragedy for a child. Experts warn that kids should be at least twelve years old before they operate any lawn mower and at least sixteen years old for a ride-on mower. Most importantly, never let children be passengers on ride-on mowers, and keep them far from the area you are mowing.

And in the end, just because it’s summer doesn’t mean there aren’t any chores to do inside… the kids might not be thrilled about it, but it’s a lot harder to hurt yourself wielding a dustrag.