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Every year children are seriously injured by lawn mowers. Motor and electrically powered mowers are particularly dangerous and more often the cause of accidents. As with all accidents careful thought might prevent these from occurring.
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If a child of 12 is sensible and realises the dangers he may be allowed to use a push mower or a motor mower with proper instruction and careful guidance.
A 16 year old can be expected responsible enough to use a sit-on mower, again provided they have had proper instruction and made aware of the dangers. Make sure that the novice user is only allowed to mow a restricted and safe area until he or she becomes well qualified to be left alone.
Before attempting to use the mower take these child safety precautions.
- Keep children away from the area you plan to mow. Children are often attracted to mowers and should be made aware of the dangers.
- It is always a good practice to search the area before mowing for sticks, rocks, children's toys or any article which could damage the mower or worse, cause an accident or injury.
- Never allow children to ride as passengers on sit-on lawn mowers or garden tractors.
- When leaving a sit-on mower unattended always take the key away with you to avoid tempting a child to play with the machine.
Further lawn mower safety tips:
- It is advisable not to mow during bad weather. Do not mow wet grass, nor in bad light.
- Ensure that the mower is in good condition and all safety equipment is in order.
- Make sure you are familiar with the operating system of the equipment and safety measures.
- Always use a circuit-breaker for electric mowers.
- Some of the larger mowers make substantial noise and users should wear ear protectors.
- Goggles should also we worn in case an object or stone is thrown up. Never have the blades turning on a gravel path. Avoid long grass that might hide a hidden hazard.
- If the mower should strike something the engine should be turned off immediately and the damage inspected.
- Avoid using the machine in reverse.
- Mowing on a slope can be particularly hazardous and very often the machine may not be easily controlled. With a walking mower it is better to mow across a slope rather than risk injury by falling under the blades, tripping or slipping on a vertical slope. On a sit-on it is safer to mow up and down a slope to avoid being tipped over.
Switch off the mower and wait until the blades are motionless before:
- Crossing gravel paths, roads and other paving.
- Touching the grass cuttings collector.
- Freeing any clogged grass.
- Leaving and walking away from the machine. Always remember with sit-on mowers to take the key away with you.