It’s summertime. The time when yard work never seems to get done and the grass never seems to stop growing. Imagine our surprise to learn that over 200,000 people are injured in lawn mower accidents each year. Many of these lawn mower accidents involve children! If you or your children are mowing the lawn this summer, we want to dole out some safety tips to keep you out of our office.

The following tips are offered courtesy of the ASRM, ASPS, ASMS, AAP, and AAOS:
• Children should be 12 years old before operating any lawn mower; 16 years old for ride-on mowers.
• Children should never be passengers on ride-on mowers.
• Always wear shoes while mowing. No sandals!
• Keep young children well away from the area you are mowing.
• Before you begin, pick up any loose stones, toys, or debris that may have been scattered around your lawn.
• Always wear eye and hearing protection.
• Use a mower that will stop itself from moving forward if the handle is released.
• Never pull backward or mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary, looking carefully for anyone behind you if you do.
• Start and refuel mowers outdoors with the motor off and at a cool temperature. Don’t do this stuff in the garage.
• Only adults should set the blade settings.
• Wait for the blades to completely stop spinning before removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, or crossing gravel roads.

These may seem like common sense, but there are children and adults who abuse the lawn mower as a toy – no doubt contributing to the 200,000 accidents each year. These accidents usually require teams of physicians of various specialties to treat and repair any physical damage. Please be safe this summer and every summer, if not for our sake or your own, but for your children’s.