It may not be convenient to have the children home all day during the summer, but it does have its perks; from greater schedule flexibility to vacation time. Another is the kids being available to help more with chores, especially yard work. Perhaps one of their duties mowing the lawn.
However, before you send them outside, you may want to reconsider if they are ready for the job. U.S. News & World Report reveals just how dangerous lawn mowers are to children.
Every year nearly 5,000 children sustain injuries from lawnmowers. Cuts are the most common at 39%, with burns coming in second at 15%. Children over 5 years old were more likely to get cut or hit. Those under 5 years old have the highest rates of burns from touching hot surfaces and of back-over accidents from operators not seeing them. About 8% of victims required hospitalization, and some even needed an amputation. Most injuries occurred to the hand or finger.
Does this mean your children should not use the lawn mower? Not necessarily. Just make sure you follow these safety measures to prevent the likelihood of an accident:
- Follow age recommendations of 12 years old for a push mower and 16 for a ride-on.
- Teach your children proper mower usage, and monitor them the first few times to ensure they do it correctly.
- Remind them to wait for the blades to turn off completely over gravel so rocks do not fly up and strike someone, including the driver.
- Encourage only mowing forward to avoid backing over an unseen child.
- Have young children stay inside during the task instead of watch outside.
- Routinely inspect and maintain your mower.
When accidents happen despite following safety protocol, the fault may lie with the manufacturer due to the machine having a defect. In this case, you can hold the party legally responsible for the injury of your child(ren).