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Yardwork Safety


Keep Kids Safe During Yardwork

Power tools make yard work easier, from mowing the lawn to trimming the bushes. These tools, however, also pose a threat to children if precautions aren't taken. Accidents involving lawnmowers send thousands of children age 18 or younger to emergency rooms each year. And several thousand more are hurt by other outdoor power tools. Lawnmower injuries include cuts, burns, and other injuries to arms and legs, loss of fingers and limbs, inhalational injuries from toxic fumes, and eye injuries from flying debris.

Most of these injuries can be prevented if young children are properly supervised or simply kept out of the work area:

  • Keep children out of any work area where you're using outdoor power equipment, including lawnmowers, weed trimmers, edgers, chippers, shredders, and log splitters.
  • If a child enters a work area, turn off any outdoor power device at once.
  • Don't let a young child operate or play with outdoor power equipment, even when it's not in use.
  • Never allow passengers on riding mowers or tow trailers carrying children.
  • Clear the work area of any objects such as twigs, stones, and toys that could be thrown by lawnmower blades or other equipment.
  • Look for children before and while you back up and when you go around corners, shrubs, trees, or other obstacles.
  • Wear sturdy shoes (not sandals or sneakers) while mowing.

Preventing lawnmower injuries

Lawnmower injuries range from minor cuts and burns to broken bones and amputations, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand says.

The society suggests how to stay safer while using a mower:

  • Read the mower's manual before use.
  • Keep the mower in good working order with sharp blades. Make sure the mower has protection over hot and sharp parts.
  • Pick up potential hazards, such as stones, toys and debris, before you mow.
  • Wear goggles, hearing protection, gloves and long pants while using a mower.
  • Wear sturdy close-toed shoes while mowing.
  • Don't drink alcohol before or during mowing.
  • Don't remove safety devices or guards from the mower.
  • Never insert hands or feet into the mower to remove grass or debris.
  • Never lift a mower by the bottom. The blades can cut fingers even if the mower is off.
  • Never cut grass while it is wet or damp.
  • Never allow children under age 12 to operate a push mower or those under 16 to drive a riding mower.
  • Keep children off the lawn while mowing, and never have a passenger on a riding mower.

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