Greening Lawns in Charlotte Bring Lawn Mower Safety to Mind
Spring is arriving in North Carolina, and along with the familiar sounds of birds singing and children playing, comes the familiar sound of lawn mowers humming. Like it or not, the chore of lawn care is a rite of spring. Alarmingly, at least 400,000 Americans each year seek medical treatment at hospitals as a result of injuries from the use of lawn and garden tools, and 80,000 of those injuries is a result of lawn mower accidents. Consumerwatch reports that the majority of those accidents involve adults over 60 and children under 15 years of age. According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, 663,000 people were treated in emergency rooms as a result of injuries related to lawn mower use from 1996 to 2004. This accounts for approximately 2 out of every 1,000 emergency room visits. Most of us don't think of our lawn mower as being as dangerous as a loaded gun, but shockingly, this is equivalent to approximately half of the number of firearm-related injuries.
So while we are giving our lawn mowers a tune-up before we put them into use this spring, we should also give our lawn mower safety a tune-up and consider the following tips from the U.S. Consumer Safety Product Commission :
- Dress appropriately. Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. As tempting as it is to try to get a tan or stay cool while mowing, the most common injuries are a result of debris such a rock that is thrown by the mower's spinning blades. Also, don't wear baggy clothes or jewelry that can get caught in the machinery's moving parts. Wear sturdy shoes with slip-resistant soles, since the second most common injury is a fractured foot, and wear eye and hearing protection. It is also recommended to wear heavy gloves when working with sharp gardening tools or changing, cleaning or sharpening mower blades.
- Do a "sweep" of the yard. Before mowing or trimming, do a walk-thru of the yard, removing any objects such as sticks, rocks, power cords, toys, or any other objects that can be thrown by moving blades.
- Check safety devices. Make sure that the safety devices on your equipment are working properly before use.
- Keep children out of the area while a lawn mower is in use. Never let a child operate a mower, and teenagers should only operate a mower if they are supervised and have been given proper instruction and have the maturity and strength to properly control the mower or lawn equipment.
- Finally, make sure that equipment has been turned off, made inoperable, and stored properly after use.