Children hurt by lawnmowers

When it comes to lawn care, crab grass isn’t the only threat. Every year, hospitals across Canada treat children who have been seriously injured by power lawnmowers. Many of these incidents result in the loss of fingers, toes, limbs and even eyes. Tragically, some lawnmower accidents can even result in permanent brain damage or death.

Even worse, statistics show that one of every five deaths caused by a lawnmower involves a child. Riding mowers are the culprits here, as most of the deaths occur when a child falls off the riding mower and is run over, or when a child is in a moving mower’s path. Many of these tragedies can be avoided with the proper precautions.

Whether you’re a grandparent, parent or just a friendly neighbour, it’s important to remember that lawn care can pose a serious threat to the health and safety of children.

Safety tips are often just common sense, but most of us need a reminder now and then. This summer, when you’re mowing your pride and joy, remember the following safety tips.

  • Do not allow passengers on a riding mower.
  • Keep children out of the yard and indoors while mowing the lawn.
  • Children under the agof 14 should not be allowed to operate a lawnmower.
  • Always prepare your lawn for mowing. Check your lawn for items such as sticks, rocks, toys, etc. Make sure nothing is hidden in the grass.
  • Handle fuel with care. Wipe up spills.
  • Never fill the tank on a mower that is hot. Never smoke or use any kind of flame around gasoline.
  • Wear appropriate clothing and shoes: long pants, long-sleeved shirts, eye protection and heavy gloves.
  • Wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes with slip-resistant rubber soles.
  • Check guards and shields. Be sure you read the owner’s manual and know how to operate the equipment. Don’t remove or disable guards or other safety devices.
  • Use a mower with an automatic blade cut-off. Stay behind the handle until the blade stops.
  • Never reach under a mower while it is still operating. If you need to remove debris to check the blade, disconnect the wire from the spark plug.
  • Don’t cut the grass when it is wet.

Don’t use a riding mower in areas where the lawn slopes.