- Wear sturdy closed-toe shoes with slip-proof soles, close-fitting clothes, safety goggles or glasses with side shields, and hearing protection.
- Watch for objects that could be picked up and thrown by the mower blades, as well as hidden dangers. Tall grass can hide objects, holes or bumps. Use caution when approaching corners, trees or anything that might block your view.
- If the mower strikes an object, stop, turn the mower off, and inspect the mower. If it is damaged, do not use it until it has been repaired.
- Do not pull the mower backwards or mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary, and carefully look for children behind you when you mow in reverse.
- Use extra caution when mowing a slope. When a walk-behind mower is used, mow across the face of slopes, not up and down, to avoid slipping under the mower and into the blades. With a riding mower, mow up and down slopes, not across, to avoid tipping over.
- Keep in mind that lawn trimmers also can throw objects at high speed.
- Remain aware of where children are and do not allow them near the area where you are working. Children tend to be attracted to mowers in use.
Fortunately, most lawn mower injuries can be prevented. The list below provides some useful guidelines for staying safe around lawn mowers. Most importantly, both adults and children must be aware of a lawn mower’s inherent dangers.
- Only use a mower that has protection over hot and sharp parts.
- Riding mowers should have the reverse switch behind the driver, forcing the driver to look behind when placing the machine in reverse.
- Push mowers should have a control that stops forward motion when the handle is released.
- If children must be in the yard during mowing, they should remain at least 20 feet away from the running lawn mower at all times. Ideally, children should not be allowed outside in the yard when the grass is being cut.
- Children should be at least age 12 years before operating a push lawn mower, and age 16 to operate a riding lawn mower.
- Children should never be passengers on ride-on mowers.
- Always wear sturdy shoes while mowing the lawn – do not wear sandals.
- Remove stones, toys, and debris from the lawn before mowing to prevent injuries from flying objects.
- Always wear eye and hearing protection.
When is my child old enough to mow the lawn?
Before learning how to mow the lawn, your child should show the maturity, good judgment, strength and coordination that the job requires. In general, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children should be at least
- 12 years of age to operate a walk-behind power mower or hand mower safely
- 16 years of age to operate a riding lawn mower safely
It is important to teach your child how to use a lawn mower. Before you allow your child to mow the lawn alone, spend time showing him or her how to do the job safely. Supervise your child’s work until you are sure that he or she can manage the task alone.