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Avoiding child and teen lawn mower injuries.

Byline: Leslie Penkunas

A few years older than I, my childhood neighbor Rusty worked summers mowing lawns when he was a young teen. One June morning when he was 15, he slipped down a hill still wet with dew and his foot slid under the lawn mower. Later that day doctors amputated that foot, the injury too severe to repair.

Decades later, Rusty races to my mind whenever our teenage son mows our lawn. Mowers are safer now -- the blades on ours stop spinning as soon as soon as the handle is released. But there are other safety aspects to consider as well. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has provided the following tips to keep your kids safe around lawn mowers:

Only use a mower with a control that stops the mower blade from moving if the handle is let go.

Children younger than 16 years should not be allowed to use ride-onmowers. Children younger than 12 years should not use walk-behind mowers.

Make sure that sturdy shoes are worn while mowing. No bare feet, open-toed shoes or flip flops.

Prevent injuries from flying objects, such as stones or toys, by picking up objects from the lawn before mowing begins. Have anyone who uses a mower should wear hearing and eye protection.

Do not pull the mower backward or mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary, and carefully look for children behind you when you mow in reverse.

Always turn off the mower and wait for the blades to stop completely before removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, or crossing gravel paths, roads, or other areas.

Do not allow children to ride as passengers on ride-on mowers.

Keep children out of the yard while mowing.

Only use lawn power equipment with adequate daylight, not at twilight.

Drive up and down slopes, not across to prevent mower rollover.

Keep guards, shields, switches, and safety devices in proper working order at all times.

If childrenmust be in the vicinity of running lawnmowers, they should wear polycarbonate protective eye wear at all times.

Lawn mower injuries to children are often extremely traumatic and can include amputation, death and emotional distress that can last a lifetime.

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Author:Penkunas, Leslie
Publication:Central Penn Parent
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 27, 2018
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