March 31, 2004 | By: Laura Skillman
PRINCETON, Ky.

With the arrival of spring comes the weekly chore of mowing the lawn. Each year, this simple task results in thousands of injuries to adults and children.

Lawn mower injuries can include loss of fingers and toes, broken bones, cuts and eye injuries and can be devastating to a family.

Proper safety precautions can go a long way toward eliminating these injuries, said Larry Piercy, safety specialist with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. Those safety precautions begin before the lawn mower ever cuts a blade of grass.

First, be sure all the safety equipment on the mower is in good condition. If it is in poor condition, replace the equipment prior to operation.

“The start of the season is also a good time to check the lawn for any hazards such as metal, sticks or other items,” Piercy said.

If youths will be using the equipment, be sure they are physically capable. If the handle of a push mower is too high, they will not have proper control and pushing will be difficult. Be sure to emphasize safety with youth and oversee their work until you are sure they are capable of safely handling the chore, he said.

The following tips are compiled from information from Piercy, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Keep children and pets out of the yard when mowing.

Wear proper clothing such as sturdy shoes and long pants.

Don’t cut the grass when it is wet. Wet clippings can clog the discharge chute, jam the blades and shut down the engine.

Push the mower forward, never backward.

When using a push mower, cut across the slope. If using a riding mower, drive up and down the slope.

Never carry passengers.

Refuel the mower only after the engine cools off and disconnect the spark plug when servicing the mower.

Make sure your walk-behind mower has a rear skirt to catch debris slung backwards at your feet.

What age is appropriate for youth to begin mowing is subject to the individual child but the AAP recommends children younger than 14 should not be allowed to use riding mowers and children younger than 12 should not be allowed to use push mowers.

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Contact: 

Writer: Laura Skillman 270-365-7541 ext. 278
Source: Larry Piercy 859-257-3000 ext. 107