Safe summer chores

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Cooling your garden and home in the summer can be satisfying but also dangerous.

Last year, nearly 262,000 people went to the emergency room for injuries associated with gardening work, including mowing, branch cutting and power washing.

Consumer Reports has safety tips to help you avoid hazards when working outdoors.

Lawn mowers caused about 70,000 injuries last year. A mower blade spins thousands of times per minute and can turn a rock or dog toy into a dangerous projectile.

So before mowing, inspect the area for rocks and branches. Protect yourself with closed shoes and long pants.

When mowing hills, travel across the slope rather than up and down; the mower will be easier to control.

Be careful when using a riding mower on rough terrain.

Many people are killed by the mower that topples over them.

So unlike walk-behind mowers, riding mowers should always go up and down slopes, not across them.

And NEVER let a child ride with you.

Last year, there were 137,000 emergency room visits associated with ladder accidents.

So before you climb, check your ladder for loose parts, sharp edges or bent rungs.

THEN, PLACE IT SAFELY: Place it on flat ground, with the base 12 inches from the wall for every 4 feet the ladder reaches.

It should also extend 3 feet beyond your roof or work space.

When climbing, always keep both hands on the rails and climb to the center of the ladder.

Pressure washing is super satisfying, but beware of the potential dangers.

Stay aware of your surroundings.

Stray children or pets can be seriously injured if they interfere with the powerful jet.

And CR recommends DISCARDING the red “zero” spray nozzle that may come with your washer.

It’s more dangerous than helpful.

Another gardening safety tip from CR: hedge trimmers are great for bushes and shrubs, but you should always keep your feet on the ground when working with them.

For tall hedges, consider an extension model instead of working from a ladder.

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