Outdoor Power Equipment Institute Shares Lawn Mower Safety Tips

How to keep your lawn looking nice, and your children safe

Lawn mower safety tips
Because many preschoolers view lawn mowers as toys, it is important to follow certain safety tips when operating and storing your lawn mower.. Nicky Bond

For some people, some of the best parts of spring and summer involve heading outside and tending to their yards. From mowing the grass to pruning trees or bushes, there is often a real sense of accomplishment once these tasks are finished and you take a look around at your handiwork.

Families with young children however, need to be extra careful when operating lawn equipment, especially lawn mowers.

A riding lawn mower can be incredibly tempting to a young child, who may view it as a toy, or something to climb on.

As the weather gets warmer and spring arrives, the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), an international trade association representing more than 100 power equipment, engine and utility vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, has put together a series of safety tips designed to help families operate and store their lawn mowers in a way that will keep little ones safe.

“Keep children off of riding mowers and out of work areas when mowers are in operation,” said Kris Kiser, President and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute. “You would not allow your child to get behind the wheel of a car or run or play near a moving car. Follow this same principle when it comes to mowers.”

In addition, the OPEI offers up the following safety tips when it comes to operating a lawn mower, whether it is a riding mower or a push mower:

•       Alert nearby people.

Make sure the people in the area know you are going to mow. Confirm the locations of pets and children, and ask that they be kept out of the area and supervised.

•       Know how to operate your mower. Read the operator’s manual to understand controls. Know how to stop the machine quickly. Do not remove or disable guards or safety devices.

•       The best place for children is away from an operating mower. Do not let children run or play near mowers. When a lawn mower is being used, it is best for children to be inside and under the watchful care of a responsible adult.

•       Clear the area being mowed. Remove debris, wires, branches, nails, rocks, or metal that may become projectiles if thrown by the lawn mower blades.

•       Do not give children rides on a riding mower, even with the cutting blades turned off. If you put a child on a riding mower, even with the blades turned off, they may run into the yard asking for another ride later when the machine is being operated and could be seriously hurt.

•       Avoid going in reverse. Be vigilant when putting your mower in reverse or approaching blind corners or obstacles that impede your sight line. Look down and behind you when backing up. Use extreme care when approaching blind corners, shrubs, trees, or other objects that may block your view.

•       Maintain control of your mower, even after you are finished mowing.

Store and lock your mower. Keep keys out of the reach of children.

•       Make sure others know your feelings about your child and contact with mowers. You may not allow your child to ride on your mower, but someone else may offer your child a ride. Make sure others know that you do not want your child to ride on a mower or operate a lawn mower.
For additional safety tips about children and lawn mower safety, the OPEI has compiled a Safe Operation Practices fact sheet.

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