July 2017 - Children Mowing Your Lawn? Review These Safety Tips First
With school out for summer, many parents enlist kids to help with chores. One chore commonly passed on is lawn mowing, but be cautious as it can be dangerous.
A recent report from www.nationwidechildrens.org stated that on average, each year 13 children a day visit the emergency room due to lawn mower injuries ranging from cuts and burns to amputations. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) puts that number significantly higher. According to CSPC statistics for 2015, over 274,000 adults and 12,000 children suffered lawn mower-related injuries that year, with boys accounting for 80% of those injuries. The sad thing is most lawn mower-related injuries are preventable.
When is a child old enough to operate a lawn mower? Twelve is the recommended age for push mowers and 16 for ride-ons (which have the added risk of tipping and rolling over), according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Of course, these are only guidelines; consider the child’s maturity, coordination and judgment when making your decision.
Interestingly enough, bystanders are four times more likely to be injured than are operators. To help avoid this, keep young children and pets indoors when mowing. Also, never let children – or adults, for that matter – ride on your mower as passengers. Lawn mowers are powerful machines – not toys.
Before mowing the grass:
- Pick up toys, rocks, sticks and other debris that can be thrown by a mower’s blades.
- Wear eye and ear protection and sturdy shoes – not sneakers, sandals or flip flops.
- Drive up and down – not across – slopes to prevent rollovers.
- Mow in reverse only when absolutely necessary; make sure no one is behind you before moving.
- Remember to turn the mower off and wait for the blades to stop before clearing grass catchers, unclogging chutes, or making other inspections or repairs.
- Use a stick or broom handle to remove debris – not your hands.
- Turn the mower off before moving across roads, gravel paths or other non-grassy areas.
Observing a few safety precautions can mean the difference between a relaxing afternoon and a visit to the emergency room.