It’s one of the most common household tools, but it’s also one of the most dangerous. According to data collected by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 80,000 people each year end up in the emergency room due to injuries caused by lawn mowers. The sharp, spinning blades of a lawn mower can slice off fingers and toes, and lawn mower incidents are the leading cause of major limb loss in children under the age of 10. Lawn mower safety is crucial.
Rocks and other debris kicked up by blades can cause head trauma and eye injuries, and the hot exhaust from a mower can reach 240 degrees Fahrenheit and quickly cause severe burns. Tragically, nearly 100 people each year die as a result of their mower-related injuries.
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Lawn Mower Safety Pointers
Nearly all of these incidents can be prevented through proper safety precautions and careful operation. Follow the guidelines below to keep yourself and your family safe throughout the mowing season.
Read the directions
No one particularly enjoys reading dry user’s manuals for household tools and appliances, but you should always at least skim the instructions and understand how your mower works (and what to do if something goes wrong)—especially if it’s a newly acquired machine.
Dress for success
Wear protective gear that will keep you safe while mowing. That includes sunglasses or safety glasses, long-sleeved shirt and pants and closed-toe shoes, all of which will protect you from flying debris and other hazards. You should also consider ear protection to prevent hearing loss over time due to the roar of the mower’s engine.
Clear away debris
Before you start up the mower, take a walk around the yard and pick up rocks, sticks, limbs, toys and anything else that could get caught in the blades and become a projectile.
Send kids elsewhere
Ideally, you’ll send children inside while you mow to ensure they don’t inadvertently end up in the path of the mower. Never allow children to sit with you on a riding mower; while it may be fun for them, they can easily fall off and get run over. Wait until children are at least 12 years old before allowing them to use a push mower, and be sure to closely supervise. Riding mowers should only be operated by teens of legal driving age.
Watch for heat
Mower parts—especially the engine and exhaust system—can become extremely hot within a few minutes of operation, so take care not to touch the mower with exposed skin. When refueling, wait until the mower cools down and be sure to stay clear of open flames and other potential sources of ignition.
Be cautious on uneven terrain
When mowing unstable areas or inclines, keep a solid grip on the mower to prevent it from tipping or sliding onto your feet or legs. Always keep hands and feet away from moving blades.
You can’t touch this
Never attempt to remove clumps of grass, sticks or any other debris while the blades are in motion. Turn off the mower, wait for the blades to still and use a tool—never your bare hands—to remove the object.
Store it safely
Once you finish mowing, stow the mower away from curious children or pets as it cools down.
Getting the Best Push Mowers for Lawn Mower Safety
Looking for the best push mowers for lawn mower safety utilization? We have developed a buyer’s guide and multiple product reviews for the best push mowers. This guide includes individual product reviews for the following products: