Lawn mowers can cause variety of harm

The lawn mower is one of the most dangerous tools around the home.

Lawn mower accidents cause 85,000 injuries a year in the United States, including 70 fatalities, according to recent statistics. More than twice as many people are killed by lawn mowers than lightning. On average, nearly 6,400 people sustain serious injuries — including burns, deep cuts, loss of fingers and toes, and broken bones.

Over 9,000 of those hurt are younger than 18. Older children and adolescents were most often hurt while cutting lawns as chores or a way to earn money.

Both mower users and those nearby can be harmed.

How can I stay safe?

Here are a few simple safety recommendations:

· Children younger than 12 should not operate push-style lawn mowers. It is recommended no one younger than 16 operate a riding mower.

· Never let a second person ride or jump on a mower while it’s running.

· Ensure your push mower stops the blade when the control handle is released. Riding mowers should stop when the rider leaves the seat.

· Always wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes. Do not mow in sandals or with bare feet.

· Wear long pants to protect legs from projectiles.

· Before mowing, scan the lawn to remove toys, hoses, tools and large rocks — they could become projectiles.

· Keep children out of the mowing area.

· Don’t mow wet grass — you could slip, finding your feet in the path of blades.

· Use extra caution on banks and slopes.

· If possible, never pull a mower backward.

· Stay alert to others entering the mowing area.

· Do not operate a lawn mower under the influence of alcohol.

· Use eyewear and hearing protection to avoid injuries to these body parts.

· Never refuel a mower when the engine is hot, to prevent burns.

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