Lawn Mowers a Real Safety Hazard for Kids

SATURDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- A coalition of several major American health organizations has issued a cautionary advisory in an attempt to draw attention to the specific risks posed to children by lawn mower use.

The tip sheet, from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, is meant to educate parents and children alike regarding the keys to lawn mower safety.

The following is a list of some of the rules that, when enforced, can help prevent injuries:

  • Children younger than 12 should not operate any type of lawn mower. And the minimum age for using a ride-on mower should be 16.
  • Children should never ride alongside adults as passengers on ride-on mowers, and should remain at a safe distance when adults mow the lawn.
  • Sturdy shoes are the optimal footwear for everyone nearby when the lawn mower is operational, never sandals. And appropriate eyewear and hearing protection are also encouraged.
  • The lawn should be cleared of stones, toys and debris before mowing begins, to prevent injuries caused by flying objects.

The experts also advise that when purchasing a lawn mower, look for machines that have a forward control mechanism that stops the machine from moving if the handle is released. And lastly, driving backwards is a no-go unless absolutely required, and should be exercised with extreme caution when necessary.

-- Alan Mozes

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SOURCE: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, news release, June 8, 2010