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Lawn mowers and children: A dangerous mix

Countless items in your garage or shed are dangerous to children. One of the biggest household hazards? Lawn mowers.

Nearly 10,000 children end up in the emergency room every year because of lawn mowers, according to one study. Injuries range from cuts and burns to bone fractures, amputations and head injuries. Many victims require long-term rehabilitation, and for some, the consequences last a lifetime.

How do lawn mower injuries happen?

Both push and riding lawn mowers can cause significant injuries. What's more, your kids don't have to be operating the mowers to be at risk. It's actually more dangerous for them to be in the vicinity. Injuries are four times more likely to involve passengers or bystanders than those operating the mower.

Accidents typically involve:

  • Getting backed over by the mower
  • Getting hit by projectiles such as stones
  • Getting a limb or digit caught in the blade
  • Coming into contact with hot engine parts
  • Falling off a riding mower
  • Tipping over on a riding mower

Human error isn't the only contributing factor in these accidents. Lawn mowers themselves may be lacking adequate safety features - such as blade guards, heat shields, rollover protections and automatic blade stops.

How to keep your kids safe

Follow these tips to reduce your chances of a tragic accident:

  • Don't let children under age 12 use push mowers
  • Don't let kids under age 16 operate riding mowers
  • Carefully supervise and train your kids on proper safety practices once they're old enough to operate the mower
  • Don't let kids ride along with you
  • Never mow in reverse
  • Clear the yard of sticks, toys, rocks and other debris before mowing
  • Keep young children well away from the yard when you're mowing

Above all, don't underestimate the dangers of lawn mowers. They're powerful pieces of equipment with the potential to cause deadly harm.

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