Each year Connecticut Children’s treats young children aged 4 and under who are severely injured in incidents involving lawn mowers, some even losing limbs as a result.
Garry Lapidus, PA-C, MPH, director of the Injury Prevention Center at Connecticut Children’s, notes that about 10,000 children are injured each year by lawn mowing equipment. To reduce the risk, Lapidus offers this advice:
- Children under age 6 should be kept indoors while mowing is being done.
- Don’t allow children of any age to play near the area being mowed.
- Don’t allow children to ride as passengers on riding mowers.
- Before mowing, clear the lawn of any sticks, stones or other objects that the mower could pick up and spit out.
- Make sure the equipment’s automatic blade control and other safety features are operational.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children be at least 12 years old to operate a push mower and at least 16 to operate a riding mower. But parents must judge whether the individual child has the maturity, coordination and physical strength to do either safely.
- Instruct operators to mow across a slope when using a push mower, and mow up and down when using a ride-on mower.
- Wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes (not sandals or flip-flops), safety goggles and ear protection when mowing.