Many of us have probably done things like mow the lawn in sandals and shorts, let the kids play around us while we mow, and perhaps have even let kids ride on a riding lawnmower with us. The problem is that there are some very real dangers, no matter how careful we try to be. Nearly 10,000 children in the U.S. are injured in lawnmower accidents each year. And most children injured by riding lawnmowers are younger than 6, typically when a parent or relative is driving the mower. So what can you do to help kids your kids safe?
- Get to know your machine – read the owner’s manual and ensure you know how to use your lawn mower properly
- Talk to your kids about the dangers of lawnmowers, and remind them to never approach one while it is running
- Always know where your children are before you start your mower and while the mower is running
- Don’t let kids ride in your lap when using a riding mower. Falling off is a very real danger, no matter how careful you think you are
- Use protective eye wear and shoes, and don’t let kids play close to where you’re mowing. Push mowers can throw out wood chips, rocks and other objects that can injure those nearby.
- For riding mowers, always look before you back up and stop the blades when you do
- Remind them the engine area is hot to the touch and can burn when touched
For those with older kids, you might be wondering when it’s safe to let them mow on their own. The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to wait until kids are at least 12 to use a push mower and 16 for a riding mower.
And, when you do let them use the machines, make sure you’ve gone over all of the safety features and important information like how to mow when there is an incline, and the importance of clearing loose objects like sticks and stones from the path.
You can find more tips to help keep your kids safe whether they’re babies or teens at: