It is summer once again — and that means time to mow our lawns. Every summer — and every year — is different when it comes to your child. He or she is a little older. That is why it is important to make lawnmower safety a dinnertime conversation every year.
There are simple rules you can share with your family today. They include:
- Children must be 12 years old to operate a push mower and 16 years old to operate a riding mower.
- Children do not ride on your lap.
- Children must stay in in the house when mowing is happening.
- Before you mow, check your lawn for toys, rocks, or sticks that could become projectiles.
- Before you mow, cut low-lying limbs and branches from trees.
- When you mow, wear boots — no sandals!
- When you mow, wear hearing and eye protection.
- Do not mow when the grass is wet and slippery.
- Use mowers that stop when the control bar is released.
- Never pull a mower backwards toward you.
- Dismount from a mower only when the blade fully stops.
- Only re-fuel a mower when it has cooled completely.
Post this near your lawn mower storage area as a reminder to keep you and your family safe from injury.
More resources: Read “Protecting Your Child From Lawnmower Accidents” by Robert Nesbit, MD, plastic surgeon at the University of Vermont Medical Center.
Elizabeth St. James, RN, is a certified plastic surgical nurse in Plastics and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Vermont Medical Center.