There are so many reasons to love spring. The promise of warmer weather, much-needed rain, and the sudden growth spurt in nature. Of course, all of these happenings also come with a brand new to-do list around your house. Typically after indoor spring cleaning has taken place it’s time to focus on the yard. And for many that means mowing the lawn throughout the grass-growing season. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are over 60,000 injuries that require treatment by hospital emergency rooms every single year due to unsafe operation of power lawn mowers. These injuries occur not just to adults, but to children, too. Instead of becoming a statistic, here are some recommended ways you and your family can be safer while mowing the lawn.
1. Lawn Mower Maintenance: Maintaining your lawn mower is a lot like maintaining a car. Mowers need a periodic oil change, fresh spark plugs, and even a regular change of air filter. Having the blades in for a sharpening prior to the start of mowing season is wise as well. By keeping your lawn mower in good condition, you’ll help ensure safer operation, increased lifespan of your mower and, of course, a better looking lawn.
2. Survey the Lawn Before Mowing: Do you like to just pull the lawn mower out of its spot in the shed or the garage and start mowing? Stop! This could be dangerous. Before you even start your lawn mower, survey your yard for signs of debris. Tree branches and sticks, toys, rocks, dog feces, and more can harm your lawn mower or you. Be sure to take a thorough look over the area before you begin mowing.
3. Gasoline Refills: Practice safety when it comes time to refill your lawn mower. Make sure the motor is completely turned off prior to refilling. Always refill the gas tank of your mower in an open space. Fuel fumes in a garage or shed may cause you harm, so it’s important to get the lawn mower into open air before refilling the tank. Never refill near an open flame or burning cigarette.
4. Protect Your Eyes and Ears: It may be relaxing to play loud music while you’re mowing the lawn, but this isn’t recommended; it’s important to stay aware of your surroundings. Wear protective glasses to prevent debris from entering your eyes. Additionally, if the noise of the mower is loud, wear earplugs to protect against noise. But proper ear protection shouldn’t prevent you from hearing everything happening around you in case of an emergency.
5. Dress Correctly: Mowing your lawn happens mainly during warmer weather, so it’s tempting to dress for the temperature. But never wear open-toe shoes while mowing the lawn, and even tennis shoes aren’t the safest option. Your best protection is to wear boots with a steel toe to provide your feet with the protection they really need.
6. Be Aware of Children: When mowing the lawn, it’s vital to keep young children indoors where they are safer. Never carry a child while you are using a lawn mower. Never let children operate a lawn mower. Take time to teach your children to respect and avoid both push mowers and riding mowers.
7. Keep Cool and Hydrated: Mowing can be a hot business. Drink plenty of fluids, take a periodic break if the heat is too much, and don’t forget to apply sunscreen prior to going outside.
The attractiveness of a freshly mowed lawn is one of summer’s joys. So, too, is keeping yourself and your family safe. Following these tips, being aware of your surroundings and using good judgment will help make this summer a pleasant season.