4 things to know before you mow

June 10, 2014

It may have taken awhile, but spring has finally sprung throughout most of the country, as April showers have indeed given way to May flowers. And in a similar fashion, lawns are looking rather shaggy in a number of neighborhoods, meaning you've probably put off firing up the lawnmower for as long as possible.

But before you get your push mower ready for the season - did you know that more than 301,400 people were injured in mower-related accidents last year? Many of these incidents were serious enough to require hospitalization, so says the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Even if you've been mowing lawns since you were back in high school, you  can't go over lawn mower safety often enough. Take a look at these tips from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons to ensure the lawn stays trimmed and you stay accident-free.

1. Get mower serviced. It may have only been a few months since you last used your mower, but depending on how often it was used last year - not to mention where it was stored - it could likely use some tender loving care. Make sure that the oil has been changed, the gas tank is full and that the blades have been sharpened.

2. Don't rush. Mowing isn't exactly the  most fun summer maintenance jobs, so you're probably eager to get it done quickly. But rushing can increase the risk of injury. If, for example, there is something in the way of the mower, turn the mower off and wait for the blades to stop spinning before doing anything else.

3. Never inspect motor when power is on. It ought to go without saying, but don't ever under any circumstances put your hands on or around the motor when a lawn mower's blades are whirling. Serious accidents like these, which are entirely avoidable, take place every year. 

4. Remove clogs with broomstick. Depending on how thick your grass is, the mower is bound to get clogged up at some point. Instead of turning it off and removing the excess grass with your hands, use a broom or stick to avoid being cut by one of the blades. Even when they aren't moving, mower blades are extremely sharp.

Mowers have to meet many different safety standards in order to be used. Still, increased safety mechanisms aren't enough to shield people from injury From 2010 to 2012, some 38,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for walk-behind mower injuries.

The information in these articles is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.