A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

Yard safety tips for summer

Mowing the lawn - Summer safety tips

Many adults visit the ER for yard-work related injuries. Learn and practice yard safety this summer.

An emergency room visit after a bad encounter with the lawn mower is probably not the first thing on your summer to-do list.

Yet, many adults find themselves in this position every year.

“We see all sorts of yard work injuries,” said Dr. Jonathan Schiller, a Marshfield Clinic emergency medicine physician. “Most injuries are preventable with proper precautions.”

Lawn care

All lawn care calls for safety and here are tips to help you:

Mowing: (Click here for additional mowing safety tips)

  1. Wear eye protection, long pants and closed shoes.
  2. Clean the yard of miscellaneous objects – rocks, trash, wood pieces.
  3. Keep children and pets inside while you mow.

Weeding, raking, shoveling:

Wear gloves.

“Gloves help prevent blisters and reduce the risk of foreign bodies getting under the skin which can cause cellulitis in your fingers and hands,” Schiller said.

On the other hand (pun intended), don’t wear gloves when using gardening power tools. Gloves provide less control over machines – an injury just waiting to happen.

Removing poisonous plants

Awareness of surroundings is important in yard safety. Be attentive of poison ivy, oak and sumac. Chemicals from poisonous plants can remain active on yard tools for five years.

“Contact with poisonous plants can cause an allergic reaction called contact dermatitis,” he said, “and inhaling fumes from burning those plants can cause lung irritation and serious illness.”

Wear long pants, long sleeves and boots to help prevent skin exposure.

Contact professionals to remove poisonous plants if you have an overwhelming amount.

Spraying chemicals (fertilizers, weed treatments and insect sprays):

Wear gloves to protect yourself from chemical-to-skin contact.

Using chemicals to complete yard work is another instance when children and pets should be at a safe distance or inside.

Grills, campfires and ladders

Grills: If you haven’t grilled out since last year, check for critters in the grill. Nests can catch fire. Check for leaks and place the grill away from your house, deck railings, trees and overhangs.

Campfires: With all fire-related activities, keep a bucket of water or hose nearby in case the fire becomes uncontrolled. Children should keep a safe distance from fires and grills and should not use fireworks. If the burned material is hot, it should not be left unattended. Douse materials in water or mix dirt with the embers until they are cool.

Ladders: Buddy up. A helper can hold the ladder and quickly get help if there is an injury. Wear slip-resistant shoes, place the ladder on firm, level ground and do not attempt overreaching.

How do you know if an injury requires urgent care or emergency care? Find out.

Related Shine365 summer safety posts:

Food safety tips for your cookout

Keep fireworks shows happy, not hazardous

Prevent drowning: Tips to keep kids safe in backyard pools

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