With spring here, it’s an appropriate time to take a closer look at a type of injury which plays out across the country every year: lawnmower incidents. Given the nature of a lawnmower’s spinning blades, it shouldn’t be surprising that injuries occur often, but the sheer number of injuries might give one pause. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that a whopping 253,000 persons had to submit to treatment at a hospital after sustaining a lawnmower injury in 2010. And 17,000 of those involved kids younger than 19.
Consumer Reports explicates further in a new report. Prompted by an incident in which a Florida girl was seriously injured in a lawnmower-related accident, the agency has provided a series of safety tips as stipulated by the CPSC and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. As that latter organization explains, a lawnmower is powerful enough to expel a single chunk of metal at 100 miles per hour. And that doesn’t even take into account the damage that can be wrought when someone has an appendage caught in the blades.
Careful lawn mowing begins before you even start the job. If you have kids, tell them not to go in the yard if the lawnmower is nearby. Also do a check of the yard as a whole to make sure there aren’t any obstacles in your path, as you don’t want the mower blades to eject these at high speeds. And if the grass is wet from a recent rainfall, consider delaying the mowing project to give the yard time to dry.
Once you begin, it’s imperative that you remain aware of your surroundings at all times. If an obstacle is in your path, consider circumventing it or turning the mower off to get it out of your way. Be careful when backing up, and cut power if a child enters the area.
The potential presence of a child is something you must be aware of at all times, particularly around landscaping that blocks your view of a part of the yard. Use caution around such visibility-reducing things as shrubbery, trees, building corners, and anything else that might impede your vision.
If you’re mowing a particularly steep slope, the accepted method of mowing will depend on if you use a riding or walking mower. Riding mowers can go up and down the slope, but walking mowers should not. That’s because if you’re going up a slope and lose your grasp on the mower, it could slide back down and right over your feet, potentially causing a serious injury.
Finally, don’t be so keen to hand responsibility for mowing the lawn over to your child. A kid of 12 might be ready to use a walking mower, but riding mowers require handling by someone 16 or up. Those figures, though, might go up depending on the readiness of each particular child.