An Iowa man was killed last week in a lawn mowing accident and statistics indicate that while the lawn mowing season lasts just a handful of months here, a significant number of Iowans are injured every year in lawn mowing mishaps.
In the past three years, state records show 94 Iowans have been taken to a hospital emergency room because of a lawn mowing injury. Lisa Roth, a safety specialist at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, calls that an “alarming” figure.
“People need to be extra cautious, especially when they’re working on their lawn mower or…trying to unclog the chute,” Roth says. Lawn mower-related injuries most often occur to the hands and feet, according to Roth. The 63-year-old who died last Tuesday in Runnells was mowing down a steep slope in his back yard and his riding lawn mower flipped and rolled over him. Roth says the man was mowing in the proper direction on a hill.
“Mowing on slopes, you want to be extra careful,” she says. “We recommend always mowing up and down slopes. Never mow across the slope.”Should a riding mower be used on a hill? It depends on how steep the slope is,” Roth says. “A lot of people do recommend that you would use a push mower as opposed to a rider, but that’s something you need to really evaluate yourself and see how steep the slope is.”
If you’re assigning lawn mowing duties to a child, Roth suggests that walk-behind mowers be operated by someone who’s at least 12. A riding mower should be driven by someone who’s at least 16, according to Roth. Roth also cautions you to ensure other kids are safely away from the lawn mowing activity.
“Simply because there might be something that comes off the blade and can become a projectile,” she says. The state has no records regarding the number of Iowans who’ve been killed in a lawn mower accident.