Staying safe during yard maintenance

Posted at 5:45 AM, Sep 02, 2014
and last updated 2016-07-04 12:06:58-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- The end of summer doesn't mean the end of lawn care, but after months of mowing, it can be easy to put yourself on autopilot when cutting the grass.

Last year, more than 300,000 people were treated for lawn mower-related injuries, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  In this Angie's List report, how to keep yourself and your family safe.

"I was in the backyard and got to the last final strip of grass. I was kind of distracted. I had my headphones in, saying hi to my kids and I hit something with the mower. I heard a loud noise and then felt this sharp pain in my leg," said Lacey Nix, a senior writer for Angie's List.

That sharp pain was the result of a metal hanger that ripped straight through her lower left leg. Her fiancé rushed her to the hospital where doctors had to perform emergency surgery.

Lacey, who writes about lawn care and home improvement for Angie's List, admits she made some mowing mistakes.

"I wrote a cover story on DIY disasters just a few months ago and I honestly thought that some of the mistakes were so silly and so crazy, that it could never really happen to me. And now I find myself in one of the biggest mistakes of all time, so it can happen to anybody," she said.

So, what can you do to stay safe?

Angie's List says you should always check your lawn for stones, sticks and other objects. Wear long pants and sturdy, closed-toed shoes.

Children should never ride as passengers on riding mowers or be towed behind. Read the owner's manual. And if you're crunched for time, you might be better off hiring a pro.

"My cheapness cost me about $26,000 after everything was all said and done. So, for something that would have cost me about $100 a month for somebody else to do, it was really, really dumb of me," said Nix.

If you want to keep your lawn mower running in optimal condition for as long as possible, don't neglect routine maintenance.

For a quick turnaround, take your mower in at the close of the mowing season or before spring grasses start to grow. Angie's List says pros typically charge between $50 and $75 for a regular tune-up.

You can catch the latest Angie's List report every Tuesday morning on WTXL Sunrise.