Mowing lawns is a time-honored way for kids to make extra spending money during the hot summer months. But will they do it safely — or will they risk serious injury because they don’t understand the power of a lawnmower or how to operate one safely?
June is National Home Safety Month and five medical organizations* warn that the routine chore of mowing the lawn can be extremely dangerous to children, the operator, and those nearby if proper safety precautions are ignored.
Last year, 253,000 people in the U.S. were treated for lawn mower-related injuries, and 17,000 of those were children under the age of 19, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
A lot of these lawn mower-related injuries require painful reconstruction and often take months or years to heal. There are some common sense things you can do to prevention injury while using a lawnmower.
8 Lawnmower Injury Prevention Tips
1. Children should be at least 12 years old before they operate any lawn mower, and at least 16 years old for a ride-on mower.
2. Children should never be passengers on ride-on mowers.
3. Always wear sturdy shoes while mowing – not sandals.
4. Young children should be at a safe distance from the area you are mowing.
5. Pick up stones, toys and debris from the lawn to prevent injuries from flying objects.
6. Use a mower with a control that stops it from moving forward if the handle is released.
7. Never pull backward or mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary – carefully look for others behind you when you do.
8. Always wear eye and hearing protection.
When Lawnmowers Attack (video)
Mowing the lawn is as common as a summer barbecue or a game of baseball. Sometimes, lawn mowers “attack” — but they don’t attack on their own — they attack because of careless use and lack of proper precaution.
Warning: The following video is a bit graphic.
*American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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Image copyright: istockphoto.com
Ann Pietrangelo is the author of “No More Secs! Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Multiple Sclerosis,” a memoir. She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and The Author’s Guild, and a regular contributor to Care2 Healthy & Green Living and Care2 Causes. Follow on Twitter @AnnPietrangelo