Maintaining the Backyard Safely
As winter says its goodbyes and gives spring a warm welcome, many people across the United States begin to spend more time in the great outdoors. Preparing the backyard for some safe fun in the sun is important. Maintaining the backyard safely will help keep your family free from danger and prevent injuries.
Mowing the Lawn
Injuries related to mowing the lawn can send thousands of people to the emergency room every year. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should be at least 12 years old to operate a push or hand mower safely, and they should be at least 16 years old to operate a riding lawn mower. It is never safe to have two people ride a lawn mower together.
For example, a child sitting on your lap could fall off and be injured by sharp blades. It is important to perform a walk-though around the yard before beginning to mow to remove any debris or toys. Cuts and amputations can occur from objects that become projectiles after hitting the spinning blades. Keep children safe by establishing a danger zone in the area where lawn mowers will be used.
While beautifying your garden can be a fun-filled spring project, it is important to be mindful of potential contact with pesticides and poisonous plants. Injuries can also occur from using gardening tools, such as strains and sprains on the lower back, shoulders, neck and wrists.
Gear up properly with long pants, long sleeved shirts, safety goggles, and sturdy shoes. On sunny days, make sure to include SPF 30+ and a wide-brimmed hat. Rotating tasks such as digging, raking and pruning bushes every 15 minutes can help prevent nerve and tendon irritation.
Firing up the Grill
Grilling on a sunny afternoon can be a great way to spend time in the backyard with family and friends. However, if you haven’t properly prepared your grill, fires and burns can occur, and send loved ones to eat hospital food instead of a backyard BBQ.
Make sure your grill is clean by removing grease build up to decrease the chance of any unwanted fires. Place a water hose or fire extinguisher at close reach to put out fires in case of emergency. Establishing a three-foot rule around the grill can help keep children, pets, and your home safe.
Did You Know?
- Injuries related to lawn mowers continue to occur, with 53% of children requiring amputations from their injuries. (American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons)
- Approximately 9,400 children receive emergency care from lawn mower related injuries every year. (American Academy of Pediatrics)
- 26,000 people were treated in hospitals during 2006 for injuries related to garden hand tool use. (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission)
- Emergency rooms treat more than 400,000 outdoor garden tool-related accidents each year. (Consumer Product Safety Commission)
- According to the US National Fire Protection Association and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, preventing fires in the backyard can start by removing grease from the grill as described in the owner’s manual.
Maintain the Backyard Safely with These Videos
Dangers of Wire Brushes
Lawnmower Safety Tips: Avoid Accidents, Injuries
Center for Injury Research and Policy: Lawnmower Safety
Limbs Matter: Lawn Mower PSA
Consumer Reports: Clean Your Grill Safely
Remington Power Tools: Lawn Mowing Safety Tips
National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA): Grilling Safety
Uncovering Your Grill for the Season