Lawnmower Safety for Kids and Families
By Muddy Creek Pediatrics – Dr. Todd Habel and Dr. Kathryn O’Malley
Mason, West Chester, Lebanon, Liberty Township
We have noticed a lot of pictures recently online of kids pushing grownup mowers with their dads or following behind with their own toy mower while someone else mows. Each year many children are injured severely by lawn mowers, so this is an important issue to talk about. Most lawn mower-related injuries can be prevented by carefully following safety guidelines. The questions and answers in this blog post are designed to help you, as a parent, make healthy and safe choices for your children.
Lawn Mower-Related Injury Facts
- More than 9,400 children 20 years of age and younger are treated in emergency departments for lawn mower-related injuries each year.
- Most of the injuries occur to boys.
- Usually the victims are older children or teens, but one in four injuries occurs to children younger than 6 years.
- Half of the injuries to children younger than 6 years are burns to the hands. This usually happens when the child touches a hot motor.
- Bystanders are also injured by lawn mowers. This can happen if the lawn mower ejects debris or if someone on a ride-on mower backs up over a child.
- Lawn mower-related injuries can be devastating. They can result in serious injuries, amputations or even death.
Is it safe for my child to ride on a riding mower?
No! It is never safe to allow a child to ride on a riding mower. Extra riders are distracting, block controls, and easily fall off. The child can suffer serious injury from the rotating blades of the mower.
Is it safe for my child to be in the yard while mowing?
No! Keep your child inside while cutting the grass.
- Children will often run from behind into the path of the mower causing serious injury.
- The operator of the mower is often unaware the child is around or is unable to hear the child approaching.
- Children can be injured by toys, rocks, and other objects being thrown by the mowing blade. Injuries from flying objects can result in blindness, loss of limbs, and even death.
- Children can also be burned by touching the mower. Keep children away from the mower at all times.
- Children who “mow the lawn” with their toy lawn mowers alongside their parents are in considerable danger for all the reasons we have listed herein. It should never be allowed.
What are some ways to make my yard safe?
Always keep yard tools out of reach of children. These include weed eaters, power saws and trimmers which are all a possible risk for injury. Keep all gasoline, insect killers and fertilizers labeled and away from children.
What are some more lawn mower safety tips?
Make sure you always have visibility to your surroundings and stay alert while mowing. Watch for children coming into the mowing area. Do not mow in reverse and always clear mowing area of toys, sticks, and trash before mowing so you do not have to leave the mower running unattended to move them out of your way.
At what age can my child operate a mower?
- A walk-behind mower can usually be operated by a child who is 12 years old with proper safety instruction and adult supervision, which is highly recommended and encouraged.
- It is advised that a riding mower be operated by no one under 16 years of age.
- Consult your operator’s manual for further instruction and guidance on safety guards and quick release handles.
- Maturity, coordination, and judgment are recommended for safe operation of any piece of machinery. No child should operate a mower when they are home alone.
- Anyone operating a mower must wear proper clothing including hard shoes and eye protection.
We know you want to keep your Muddy Creek Kids as safe as possible. So do we! We hope this information was helpful and raised some awareness about child safety. For more information you can consult the following resources: