Lawn-mowing dangers

FRESNO, Calif.

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Consumer Reports cautions that the blades on today's can exceed 200 mph. Any debris encountered can become a projectile. Sharp pieces can fly more than 100 feet. That's why it's so important to keep kids and pets well away from where you're mowing.

A survey by Consumer Reports National Research Center reveals that all too many people have bad mowing habits. More than half of those surveyed wore shorts while mowing, and 14 percent wore flip-flops. Closed shoes and long pants provide important protection.

Another really bad habit is drinking beer or other alcohol. Eight percent admitted to doing just that!

Consumer Reports also cautions against disabling safety features, such as a handle that automatically shuts off the mower when you let go of it.

Here are some important precautions:

* Don't mow wet grass. You can slip and cause a serious injury.

* Never allow children to ride on lawn tractors.

* To avoid burns, be sure to let your mower cool down before adding fuel or cleaning it.

* Before you start to mow, pick up stones, twigs, and anything else you see on the lawn so that they don't turn into projectiles.

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