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Kids and Lawn Mowers: A Slice of Safety Advice

Doctors says lawn-mower-related injuries to children are completely preventable with proper safety measures and common sense. Credit: Linda Kloosterhof.
Doctors says lawn-mower-related injuries to children are completely preventable with proper safety measures and common sense. Credit: Linda Kloosterhof.
July 27, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. - Broken bones, amputations, and permanent disabilities are among the preventable injuries to children due to a dangerous mix of kids and lawn mowers.

Pediatric orthopedic surgeon Dr. Dale Jarka with Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City says people need to teach children from the beginning that these are very dangerous machines and not playthings.

"It's a fun thing they think it's a toy, they're riding with grandpa and then they fall off and into the blade," says Jarka. "We see it every year. Another one that's common, unfortunately, is that these mowers are very loud. The operator doesn't hear them and can back over them."

Jarka adds children should never be allowed to ride as passengers on mowers and should be kept out of the yard while it's being mowed.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children be at least 12 years old before operating a push mower and age 16 for a riding lawn mower. While many parents may be eager to pass the chore on to their children, Jarka says it's crucial they wait until their kids have reached not just the right age, but also the right maturity.

"The driver has to be aware of the concept of uneven terrain, and where it's appropriate to mow," says Jarka. "Where it's appropriate not to mow, and the maturity of the operator to know that - no children on the riding lawn mowers with them and no children around."

Jarka adds anyone operating a mower should wear closed-toed shoes, never flip-flops or sandals.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND