What to do before mowing lawn to avoid unnecessary emergency room trip

Checking for rocks, sticks and other objects that can be thrown if hit by a mower blade can help keep people and animals around you safe

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – On average, 13 children head to the emergency room each day in the United States because of a lawn mower related injury. This number equals to almost 4,800 children a year.

Emergency room doctors say lawn mower injuries are common around this time of the year, but most of them are preventable.

A study done by Nationwide Children’s Hospital suggests for children to be at least 12 years old before they begin cutting the grass using a push mower, and 16 years old if they will be using a riding mower.

The study says bystanders are four times more likely to get hurt than the person mowing the grass, so making sure no one else is in the yard is very important.

“One of the more common [issues] is objects being thrown out and hitting people. You always want to make certain that you do a quick survey of the yard before you ever mow it, or whatever field you may be mowing. Obviously you want to give fair warning to people who may be out to not be out,” said Dr. Pete Varlas from Emergency Medicine.

To a child, a lawn mower might look like a toy, so it’s important to teach them the dangers of this every day tool and never let them be a passenger on a riding mower. Also, children should always be supervised if they are mowing the grass.

“You always want to make certain that there aren’t young people playing at the time that you are mowing, because that’s one of the things that they don’t pay attention to and run out in front of you or show up behind you,” Varlas said.

Safety experts suggest using a mower with a feature that stops the blade from moving if you let go of the handle. They also suggest a “no mow in reverse” feature that protects children if they sneak up behind the mower.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers some additional tips on how to keep you and your children safe this summer, during peak mowing season.

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