FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Now that mowing season is here, the City of Fort Smith issued a press release with some safety rules to keep in mind when mowing your yard.

  • Wear the proper footwear – Sandals are not proper footwear for mowing the lawn, and it’s not because a spinning blade couldn’t slash through a leather shoe or boot, because it could. The reason sandals are a poor choice is that they’re less stable, and a trip, slip or stumble could cause you to come in contact with moving or hot parts. Sandals also increase the odds of pinching or stubbing a toe when mounting a riding mower or zero-turn mower.
  • Watch out for kids – Driving or pushing a mower around the yard is not the place for young children to show their parents how well they can “help.” Keep toddlers inside when mowing, and don’t let kids under 12 operate a push mower or kids under 16 run a rider. And avoid the temptation of giving your grandson a spin around the yard—lawn tractors and zero-turn mowers are designed for one person.
  • Avoid yard missiles – If you prefer non-shattered windows on your home and neighbor’s car, then pick up stones, branches, toys, sprinklers and other items before you start mowing. And if you do miss something and notice it while you’re mowing, don’t wait until you mow over to the spot. Pick it up right away. You may forget or be daydreaming when you do get there.
  • Don’t mow gravel – Never cross over a gravel driveway with the blades engaged. And if you live on a gravel road, mow grass near gravel only when there are no cars or pedestrians passing by. Launching rocks at your neighbors is not a good way to build relationships.
  • Don’t pull backward – Whenever possible, try not to pull a lawnmower toward you. If you slip, you could end up pulling the mower right on top of you. This is a real hazard, and there are a bunch of gruesome images online that can serve as a powerful reminder.
  • Wear hearing protection – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, listening to sounds over 85 decibels for extended time periods can cause hearing damage. Lawnmowers can produce more than 100 decibels—wear hearing protection.
  • Keep clear of moving blades – If the blades are spinning, don’t unclog the chute, adjust the wheel height, inspect the blades or do anything that would bring your appendages in harm’s way. The reasons are pretty obvious. And never disable the kill switch or tie down the safety lever.

The release notes that lands in Fort Smith “shall be maintained so that weeds and grasses thereon shall not exceed (10) inches in height.”