Injuring approximately 68,000 people each year, lawn mowers are one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment around the house. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 13 percent of those harmed are children under the age of 18.
To prevent lawn mower injuries to children, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends the following:
- Use a mower with a control that stops the mower from moving forward if the handle is let go.
- Children younger than 16 years should not be allowed to use riding mowers.
- Children younger than 12 years should not use walk-behind mowers.
- Never let passengers of any age join you on a riding mower.
- Prevent injuries from flying objects, such as stones or toys, by picking up objects from the lawn before mowing begins. Use a collection bag for grass clippings or a plate that covers the opening where cut grass is released.
- Wear protective gloves, goggles, boots and long pants when you use lawnmowers.
- Never mow barefoot or in sandals. Make sure that sturdy shoes are worn while mowing.
- Make sure that children are indoors or at a safe distance well away from the area you plan to mow.
- Use caution when mowing hills and slopes. Mow across with a push mower; mow up and down with a riding mower. Do not cut wet grass.
- Start and refuel mowers outdoors, not in a garage or shed. Mowers should be refueled with the motor turned off and cool.
- Make sure that blade settings (to set the wheel height or dislodge debris) are done by an adult, with the mower off and the spark plug removed or disconnected.
- 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.
- Always turn off the mower and wait for the blades to stop completely before removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, or crossing gravel paths, roads or other areas.