Riding Lawn Mower Safety Tips and Guidelines
Riding lawn mowers provide a convenient way to cut your lawn, but they can also be quite dangerous. Sharp blades, flying debris and rollovers send many people to the emergency room. This type of mower injures about 35,000 Americans every year. Please take the time to read these lawn mower safety tips and guidelines before your next mowing session:
1. Keep children and pets away from your riding mower. Another adult should supervise them while you mow the lawn. Never let kids ride as passengers or sit in your lap.
2. Do not leave the key in your garage or the mower's ignition, even if you don't have children. A neighbor's child might start the mower and become injured while riding it.
Lawn Mower Preparation
3. Inspect your lawn for small objects before mowing. Remove any garbage, rocks, sticks, toys or cords that you find. For maximum protection, wear safety goggles when using any type of lawn equipment.
4. Add fuel and start the engine outside of your barn or garage. This greatly reduces the risk that you will ignite a large fire. Always handle lawn mower batteries carefully to prevent accidents from occurring.
5. Drive up and down the side of a hill rather than riding across it. If your lawn mower is unable to reach the top of a hill, turn off the blade and carefully back down.
6. Try to avoid operating your mower in reverse, as you are more likely to hit a person, animal or object when backing up.
7. Only use sturdy ramps, bridges and storage buildings. A weak structure may collapse under the weight of a riding mower; keep in mind that some models weigh up to a ton.
8. Shut off the blade when you cross a paved area. If possible, avoid using roads or sidewalks. The law prohibits people from riding these mowers on public streets.
9. Select a riding mower with a blade that stops turning if you back up, leave the seat or let go of the handle. Mowers that were manufactured after 1987 tend to have more safety features.
10. Practice driving a mower on a flat, open surface before you attempt to mow hills or narrow paths. Be sure to thoroughly read the instruction manual prior to operating an unfamiliar mower.
It is vital to remain alert when mowing your lawn. Never use yard equipment when you are tired, sick or intoxicated. The weather also affects riding lawn mower safety; wet grass can make hills very slippery. Finally, remember that it's unsafe for most minors to operate these machines. The Alabama Department of Public Health warns that no one should use a riding mower before reaching the age of 16.