Protect Your Kids From Lawn Mowers

Lawn Mower SafetyWith summer in high gear, it’s a good time to remind families about safety around lawn mowers. Every year, lawn mower accidents cause serious injuries to legs, arms, fingers, toes or other body parts. More than 200,000 people – including about 16,000 under the age of 19 – were treated for lawn-mower-related injuries in 2007 alone. And more than 600 children undergo amputations each year as the result of mower-related injuries.

“Amputations from lawn mower accidents are among the most preventable,” says Kendra Calhoun, president and CEO of the Amputee Coalition of America. “By following commonsense safety rules, you can prevent lawn mower injuries to yourself and others.”

The coalition recommends following these safety rules:

Never allow children to play on a lawn mower, even if it’s turned off.

Never let a child to ride on a riding lawn mower with you.

Keep young children indoors while you’re mowing.

Do not allow other children to play nearby while you are mowing.

Children should be at least 12 years old to operate a lawn mower and at least 16 to operate a riding mower.

Before allowing your older son or daughter to operate a lawnmower, explain the dangers of lawn mowers and their safe operation.

Always follow your own safety rules to set a good example for your children.

In addition, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery (ASRM), and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) offer these injury prevention tips:

Always wear sturdy shoes while mowing – not sandals.

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. Refuel with the motor turned off and cool.

Blade settings should be set by an adult only.