Staying safe while sprucing up

A toddler in South Carolina recently had to be rescued from underneath a riding lawn mower.

The three year old survived that accident, but to keep situations like this from happening to you KHQA's Jarod Wells got some tips from a local expert for this Safe Family Report.

If you're on a riding lawn mower, make sure your seat switches are hooked up and working properly.

Farm and Home Supply Power Equipment Manager Larry Schutte said, "That way if you get to falling or you're mowing on a hill side, even if you fall off the unit, the unit is going to shut off."

Riding or push mower, be sure all your guards are down and in the proper position. That will keep you protected as well as anything around you. But you should stop the lawn mower when someone is walking or driving by.

Schutte said, "That way you don't throw rocks or debris on to them."

Schutte says staying safe on a mower takes common sense. Like paying attention to any and all warning labels. Like this one that says do not ride with children on the mower. And this one that says do not stick your hands underneath any mower while it's on.

Schutte said, "You don't need to be reaching under the deck to get that grass underneath."

Pay attention to what is around you when you're mowing, especially what is behind you before you go in reverse.

Staying safe also means general maintenance to your machine.

Schutte said, "Make sure everything is clean. The top of your engine is good and clean. Keep that dust off. You want to look for wear items. You want to make sure your wheels are on good and tight. you want to look at your blades, make sure that's good and tight and good and sharpened."

Other maintenance, like oil changes and filters should be done like you would to your normal vehicle. It's also a good idea to prep your yard before you start mowing.

Schutte said, "Everybody's trying to hurry to get it done, just take a few more minutes. As we're walking across that yard, remove those sticks out of that yard so you don't trip. If you can walk around the yard before you get started, clean it up."

Larry Schutte from Farm and Home Supply in Quincy says many times people try to get their yards cut no matter the conditions.

He says if the weather is not cooperating, don't force it and wait until the grass is dry.