Kids and Lawn Mowers Don't Mix
WebMD News Archive
Referring to a 1990 policy statement on riding mowers by the American
Academy of Pediatrics, the authors call for public education. The guidelines
say children should be at least 14 years old and undergo a training period
before operating ride-on mowers.
Kennedy's own rule of thumb is "off and inside," a reminder that
kids should not be operators or passengers on mowers and are only out of harm's
way if indoors.
Soucy is spreading the message "Know Before You Mow" with posters
and pamphlets. The Canadian researchers recommend that no passengers be carried
on riding mowers, and that protective footwear -- hard, closed-toe shoes -- be
worn by anyone around a mower. They also say that "children younger than 15
years should not operate lawn mowers ... and should not be in the yard when
lawn is being mowed."
Fortunately, manufacturers are enhancing the safety of riding lawn mowers.
"Starting next year, all of our ride-on mowers will have a reverse lock-out
mechanism," says William Lowe, director of marketing at Snapper Inc., based
in McDonough, Ga. "This prevents the mower from moving in reverse when the
blade is engaged."
In its ride-on owner's manuals, Snapper cautions against children operating
or riding on the mowers, and advises that kids remain inside while lawns are
being mowed. "But most people don't read owner's manuals," Lowe says,
"so now we include both print and video versions to help get the message
Some lawn mower dealers also are willing to provide safety information and
"The safety of our customers is a major concern," says Jerry
Shields, a spokesperson for Atlanta-based Home Depot. "The staff spends a
lot of time on safety instruction in our tool rental department, and we'd
certainly participate in public awareness about lawn mower safety."
- Lawn mower injuries to children can be mutilating or fatal, but can often
- Cuts, fractures, and burns account for 60% of all mower injuries; half of
these types of injuries require amputation of the toes, feet, or legs.
- In children under 7, injuries are often the result of falling or jumping
from ride-on mowers. Others are caused by sliding under the mower or being
backed over, even when parents or relatives are driving.
- "Off and inside" is a good reminder that kids should not operate or
be passengers on riding mowers, and are only out of harm's way if indoors.