Each year, more than 9,000 children are treated in emergency departments due to lawn mower injuries (1). All mowers can prove potentially dangerous, but power mowers are especially dangerous. The most common injuries include cuts, burns, broken bones, and in bad cases, amputation (2). It is NEVER safe to allow children to ride on a mower. Always keep children inside while cutting grass to avoid accidents. If they cannot stay inside alone, make sure they are a safe distance away from the area that you are mowing (3).
It is never safe to allow children to ride on a mower (before age 16) or operate a push mower (before age 12) (1). If your child is responsible for mowing the lawn, it is important to teach them before allowing them to do so alone. Spend some time with your child to instruct them proper mowing techniques and supervise them until you are confident that they can do the job alone. Here are some safety tips for teaching your child to mow the lawn (1):
- Check the mowing area for any objects like sticks, rocks, or toys that can be picked up and thrown by mower blades.
- Tall grassy areas can hide these objects so be extra cautious when going through these areas.
- If the mower hits an object, stop, turn the mower off, and inspect the mower. If there is damage, do not continue to use the mower until it is repaired.
- Wear closed-toed shoes with rubber soles, safety goggles, and hearing protection while mowing.
- When mowing a slope:
- Manual push mower: mow across the slope face (not up and down)
- Riding mower: mow up and down the slope
- When done mowing, turn the mower off and be sure to wait for the blades to stop completely before unclogging the discharge chute, removing grass catcher, or walking away from the mower.
Following these safety tips can help prevent unwanted injuries. While necessary, lawn mowers can be dangerous if not used properly, so it is vital you follow all safety precautions!