Center for Injury Research and Prevention

Readiness to Mow

April 28, 2016
Child with toy lawn mower
A toy lawn mower is the only kind of
mower a toddler should be touching.

In the Philadelphia area, warm months have finally arrived. The familiar buzz of lawn mowing all around my neighborhood reminds me that it's a good time for us to counsel our families on lawn mower safety.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), more than 9,000 children each year seek emergency room treatment for injuries sustained by a lawn mower, a significant proportion of which include young children (<5 years of age).
Lawn mower injuries result in twice the number of hospitalizations when compared to injuries from other consumer products and also result in a little over a fifth of amputation injuries among children admitted to a level 1 trauma center.

On this blog, we've discussed "readiness to drive" among teens who are interested in driving automobiles, which includes both operational (physical skills) and judgment skills. It is also reasonable to consider "readiness to mow."

While there is no legal minimum age for operating a lawn mower, the AAP recommends anyone operating a lawn mower should possess a pre-requisite level of maturity, judgment, training, and physical skill. For most children, a reasonable age to recommend mowing is at least 16 years for ride on mowers, and at least 12 years for walk-behind power mowers and hand mowers.

To keep children safe around lawn mowers, AAP offers these guidelines:

  • Children <6 years of age should remain inside while lawn mowing occurs.
  • Children should not play with the lawn mower while in storage.
  • Children should not ride as passengers or towed behind mowers.

For more information on lawn mower safety, visit the AAP website.

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