Every Year Children are Severely Injured or Killed in Lawnmower Accidents; Shriners Hospitals Offer Safety Tips

May 01, 2000, 01:00 ET from Shriners Hospitals for Children

    TAMPA, Fla., May 1 /PRNewswire/ -- As summer approaches, many homeowners
 will begin working on their lawns.  Unfortunately, this can pose a serious
 threat to the health and safety of children.
     Shriners Hospitals for Children treat a number of children each year who
 have been seriously injured as a result of power lawnmower incidents.  Many
 of these incidents result in the loss of fingers, toes, limbs and even eyes.
 Tragically, some lawnmower accidents can result in permanent brain damage or
     According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, one of every
 five deaths caused by a lawnmower involves a child.  The Commission estimates
 that most of the deaths to children occur when a child falls off the riding
 mower and is run over, or when a child is in a moving mower's path.  In many
 of these unfortunate situations, these tragedies could have been avoided if
 the proper precautions had been taken.
     Injuries and death from lawnmower accidents can be reduced dramatically if
 these safety tips from Shriners Hospitals and the U.S. Consumer Product
 Safety Commission are followed:
     * Do not allow passengers on a riding mower.
     * Keep children out of the yard and indoors while mowing the lawn.
     * It is recommended that children under the age of 14 not be allowed to
 operate a lawnmower.
     * Always prepare your lawn for mowing. Check your lawn for items such as
 sticks, rocks, toys, etc.  Make sure nothing is hidden in the grass.
     * Handle fuel with care. Wipe up spills.  Never fill the tank on a mower
 that is hot. Never smoke or use any kind of flame around gasoline.
     * Wear appropriate clothing and shoes. Wear long pants, long-sleeved
 shirts, eye protection and heavy gloves. Wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes with
 slip-resistant rubber soles.
     * Check guards and shields. Be sure you read the owner's manual and know
 how to operate the equipment.  Don't remove or disable guards or other safety
     * Use a mower with an automatic blade cut-off. Stay behind the handle
 until the blade stops.  Never reach under a mower while it is still operating.
 If you need to remove debris to check the blade, disconnect the wire from the
 spark plug.
     * Don't cut the grass when it is wet.
     * Don't use a riding mower in areas where the lawn slopes.
     Always be aware of mowing dangers and keep children safe.  For more
 information on lawnmower safety, or Shriners' network of 22 hospitals that
 treat children with orthopaedic problems, burns and spinal cord injuries,
 please write to International Shrine Headquarters, Public Relations Dept.,
 2900 Rocky Point Drive, Tampa, FL 33607 or visit our Web site at
 www.shrinershq.org.  If you know a child Shriners can help, call
 1-800-237-5055 in the United States or 1-800-361-7256 in Canada.  Shriners
 Hospitals provide free treatment to children under age 18 without regard to
 race, religion or relationship to a Shriner.
     For more information, Contact: Michael C. Andrews, Director of Public
 Relations or Michelle Fox, Projects Manager, International Shrine HQ,
 Tampa: 813/281-8162

SOURCE Shriners Hospitals for Children