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Cutting Lawn Mower Injuries

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Duke Health News 919-660-1306

A power lawn mower is one of the most dangerous tools around
the home. Lawn mower injuries can result in amputation,
disfigurement, sight loss and other serious wounds.

Claudia McCormick, director of the Trauma Program at Duke
University Medical Center
, says lawn mower injuries to
adults, as well as children, can be prevented. She offers the
following safety tips:

--Prepare the lawn before mowing. Remove debris, sticks,
rocks or any other potential flying objects from the area to be
mowed.

--Fill the gas tank outdoors when the engine is cool. Never
fill the tank in a garage or shed, because of the danger of
gasoline fumes. Turn off the mower and let the motor cool
before filling the fuel tank.

--Always use protective eyewear. Earplugs and other forms of
hearing protection are a good idea, but don't listen to
portable music players to try and drown out the mower
noise.

--Power mowers are especially dangerous on slopes. Push
walk-behind mowers across slopes; drive riding mowers up and
down slopes. Use good judgment about mowing on inclines.

--Tennis shoes and sandals are not suitable footwear for
mowing. Wear heavy boots, ideally ones with a steel toe, so
that feet have some protection.

--Never carry a child while on a riding mower. If the child
falls off but the driver remains on the mower, the automatic
shut-off probably won't be activated.

--Make sure the mower is turned off before reaching
underneath to remove grass clumps or debris. Many experts
recommend using a bagging mower to collect grass clippings.

--Keep children in the house or in another supervised area
of the yard while mowing.

--A child should be at least 12 to operate a push mower and
at least 14 to operate a riding mower.

--Mowing can be hot work, but wait until after finishing to
have a beer or other alcoholic beverages.

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