Summer is a time of lemonade stands, BBQ cookouts, lounging poolside, and the smell of fresh cut grass lingering in the air. The last thing anyone wants is for this carefree time to be sadly interrupted by a traumatic event, like a lawn mower-related accident.
Older children often help out at home by mowing the lawn or by mowing a neighbor’s lawn to earn cash. Young children are naturally attracted to moving mowers and may come too close, unaware of the dangerously moving blades just beneath the cover. Through nominations to our Hero of the Month program, Kids Wish Network has noted an increase in the number of children severely injured in lawn mower-related accidents.
From 2013 through 2015, on average each year 35,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for walk-behind power mower injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these tips to those operating lawn mowers:
- Use only a mower with a control that stops the mower blade’s movement if the handle is released.
- Children should be at least 12 years of age before operating a push lawn mower and age 16 to operate a riding lawn mower.
- Make sure that sturdy shoes (not sandals or sneakers) are worn while mowing.
- Drive up and down slopes, not across to prevent mower rollover.
- Prevent injuries from flying objects, such as stones or toys, by picking up objects from the lawn before mowing begins and wearing polycarbonate protective eyewear at all times.
If you have young children at home, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you do not pull the mower backward or mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary, and carefully look for children behind you when you mow in reverse. Even better, keep young children out of the yard while mowing. Also, never let children play on or near a lawn mower, even if it is not in use.
We hope these safety tips help in creating awareness of how dangerous this simple summer chore can be. When followed correctly, we would hope to see a decrease in the amount of lawn mower-related injuries.