The Dangers of a Perfect Lawn
Holes and construction areas present relatively obvious threats to children and other visitors to a home.
Less obvious, however, are the dangers presented by common lawn and garden items–many of which homeowners leave unattended on a regular basis while answering telephone calls or running inside “for just a moment.”
A moment is all an accident needs to happen.
MOWERS AND POWER TOOLS MAY PRESENT AN ATTRACTIVE NUISANCE
Interruptions happen during every homeowner’s day. A gardening project stops for a phone call. A child’s scraped-up knee calls a parent away from mowing the lawn.
Unattended mowers and other tools pose a serious threat of injury or death to curious children. Although many people think a child will “have better sense” than to try and start a lawnmower, chainsaw, or other dangerous garden tool, most children don’t consider the dangers involved in handling these familiar pieces of garden equipment. Having seen their parents and neighbors wheel the mower around with ease, a child may think that he or she can operate the equipment too.
Never leave a mower, edger, chainsaw or other garden equipment unattended, even for “a minute or two.” Take the equipment inside or return it to a garage or shed–and be sure to secure the door.
KEEP HAND TOOLS OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN AND PETS
Lawn equipment and tools don’t have to be motorized to present a dangerous hazard. Garden shears, saws, and similar hand-held tools present almost as great a danger (and more so in some circumstances). Even children who know to leave motorized tools alone will often play with hand tools, or try to use them, when they find such tools unattended.
Garden shears present a danger of accidental cuts or stabbings, as well as dangers to foliage, pets, and other children. These accidents can happen even when children have good intentions or think they’re helping with the work.
Screwdrivers and hammers are dangerous, too, and even blunt objects like heavy shovels present a hazard when misused. Children have vivid imaginations, and even those who might not misuse a tool in its ordinary capacity may use garden tools as “swords” or “spears” for fantasy play. Even responsible children exercise poor judgment from time to time.
Don’t leave any garden tool where it might become a danger. If you do allow children to help with yard work, teach them to use age-appropriate tools and supervise all tool use carefully.
EXERCISE GREAT CAUTION BEFORE ALLOWING CHILDREN TO USE OR HANDLE TOOLS
Never assume a young child is capable of handling tools unattended, or of exercising proper judgment about the use of tools. Teach children proper tool-handling safety, and caution them to avoid all tools which are dangerous or inappropriate for their age(s).
Even older children should be supervised while handling tools that may cause serious injuries, and should never be allowed to use motorized tools like blowers, mowers, and chainsaws, especially without adult supervision.
Each parent must make the decision when to allow his or her children to use hand tools and other gardening implements. “Appropriate” ages will differ from child to child, even within a family.
Parents should never assume that a child’s friends are capable of the same judgment (or have the same experience) as their own children; always err on the side of caution where dangerous implements are concerned.
Motorized tools and hand tools present serious dangers. Some tools are even dangerous for adults. Always put tools away immediately after use, and never leave them unattended in the yard.
Treat all tools–motorized and hand operated–as if you will be liable for any injury they cause. A little extra care goes a long way toward avoiding unwanted, expensive, and tragic injuries.