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Growing concern for lawn mower safety

Summer provides the unique pleasure - or chore - of mowing the lawn. For those less inclined to take on the task themselves, it's easy to find a teenager in the neighborhood willing to do the job for a fair price. However, homeowners and parents of teens should be aware of the unique dangers lawn mowing can present. How can we balance safety with the enjoyment of a fresh cut lawn?

What the injury statistics say

Age and mower-type guidelines

Safety experts at Nationwide Children's Hospital outline guidelines for children based on age and type of lawn mower.

  • Children under six should remain indoors while a lawn mower is in operation.
  • Children should never ride as passengers on a lawn mower.
  • Children between the ages of 12 to 15 are old enough to operate a push mower.
  • Teenagers age 16 and older can operate a riding lawn mower.
  • No one under 18 should run a lawn mower without adult supervision.

How to promote safe use of lawn mowers

No one can prevent all lawn mower-related injuries, but parents and homeowners can take certain steps to mitigate the risks to kids by teaching them how to operate a mower properly and by wearing protective equipment.

  • Inspect the lawn mower before use, including blade sharpness and wheel condition.
  • Check to see that the blade, chute and brush guards are clear of grass and debris.
  • Clear the yard of sticks and rocks before starting the lawn mower.
  • Teach kids how to start and stop the lawn mower safely.
  • Ensure kids wear sturdy, closed-toed shoes and durable gloves.
  • Do not mow when the grass is wet or after dark.

Safety guidelines that promote awareness of lawn mower-related injuries and how to prevent them can help kids and parents enjoy the summer months outside.

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