Mowing The Lawn Can Be Dangerous Chore For Kids

Armen Hareyan's picture

Many parents may be planning to hand over lawn mower duty to their children this summer, however, this routine task can be dangerous if proper safety precautions are not taken.

More than 220,000 people -- approximately 16,500 of them children under age 19 -- were treated in doctors' offices, clinics and emergency rooms for lawn mower- related injuries in 2006, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports.

To help prevent injuries, the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery (ASRM), the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have teamed up to educate parents, adults and children about the importance of lawn mower safety during National Safety Month, June 2007.

"Having been in practice for almost 25 years, it never ceases to amaze me how our emergency rooms continue to see the devastating injuries that lawn mowers can cause," said ASRM President Lawrence Colen, MD. "Most, if not all, of the injuries seen are preventable. Partial lower limb amputations, facial/eye injuries and mutilating hand trauma caused by these machines can change the lives of the afflicted forever."

"Lawn mowers can be dangerous if not used properly," said AAOS President Jim Beaty, MD. "It is important to follow a few simple safety tips to prevent injuries from occurring."

The ASRM, AAOS, ASPS and AAP offer the following tips to help prevent lawn mower-related injuries:

-- 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.


-- Children should never be passengers on ride-on mowers.

-- Always wear sturdy shoes while mowing -- not sandals.

-- Young children should be at a safe distance from the area you are mowing.

-- Before mowing, pick up stones, toys and debris from the lawn to prevent injuries from flying objects.

-- Always wear eye and hearing protection.

-- Use a mower with a control that stops it from moving forward if the handle is released.

-- Never pull backward or mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary -- carefully look for others behind you when you do.

-- Start and refuel mowers outdoors -- not in a garage.