My husband mowed our lawn for the first time this week, setting off a summer full of lawnmowers, weedeaters, and other lawn tools! This means that it’s also time to think about our children’s safety outdoors this summer. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, each year 800 children are run over by riding mowers or small tractors; 75 people are killed, and 20,000 injured; one in five deaths involves a child. You don’t want your child to be a statistic. The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), issues the following safety tips about children and lawn mower safety.
“Keep children off of riding mowers and out of work areas when mowers are in operation,” said Kris Kiser, President and CEO of OPEI. “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.”
- 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.See our fact sheet on children and lawn mower safety and go to www.OPEI.orgfor more safety tips and information.
The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is an international trade association representing more than 100 power equipment, engine and utility vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. OPEI is the advocacy voice of the industry, and a recognized Standards Development Organization for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and active internationally through the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in the development of safety and performance standards. OPEI is managing partner of GIE+EXPO, the industry’s annual international trade show, and the creative force behind the environmental education program, TurfMutt.com. OPEI-Canada represents members on a host of issues, including recycling, emissions and other regulatory developments across the Canadian provinces. For more information, visit www.OPEI.org
I know I will be making sure that we are practicing these tips for lawnmower safety! How will you keep your kids safe this summer?