We’ll leave advice about mulching your milkweed and pruning your plum trees to the folks who know that stuff, and stick to what we do know a little bit about at Krugh Insurance: accidents around the home.
The biggest outdoor safety hazards involve lawnmowers, which are responsible for over 253,000 injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Safety Commission. Far too many of these accidents involve children. To put it bluntly, kids and mowers just don’t mix, either on board or anywhere near, when mowing is in progress.
Don’t get us wrong: we’re as guilty as the next grandpa of giving the kids a ride, with the blades shut off, of course. But here’s a scenario to make you cringe: you put the toddler off the mower, into a safe spot on the deck, and start your grass attack. After a round or so, you’re totally into it and have forgotten Little Lulu entirely. When she jumps down off the porch and starts following Papa, begging for another ride, you can’t hear her and have no idea she’s close behind when you shift into reverse to make a precise corner. Even if your mower has a working safety switch to prevent mowing in reverse, scary possibilities exist here. ‘Nuff said?
So, Safety Tip #1: Stay alert to where you are relative to obstacles and kids. ALWAYS check; never assume the way behind you is clear.
#2: Walk the lawn and remove toys, rocks, sticks, pets, and kids. Seriously, folks, the energy transferred by a typical mower blade striking a stone is equal to being shot in the hand by a .357 magnum. Seriously.
#3: Beware all slopes; know the safest way to mow them with your mower.
#4: Use a broomstick, not fingers, to dislodge debris from under the mower deck. This may seem like a no-brainer, but trust us, we know of specific cases. And oh, yeah, shut everything off first.
#5. Shut off the engine and wait for it to cool before re-fueling.