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READ: Lawn mower safety guidelines from University of Michigan children's hospital

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Health officials at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital offer these lawn mower safety guidelines: 

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children be at least 12 years of age before they use a walk-behind power mower and 16 years of age to use a riding lawn mower. When they are old enough, teach your child how to safely use a lawn mower, and watch them until you are sure they can manage the task alone.

To make lawn mowing safer:

  • Do read the lawn mower manual and the instructions on the mower.
  • Do verify the grass catcher, all protective guards and safety equipment are in the correct place and your mower is in good repair.
  • Do make sure children are indoors or a safe distance away from the area you are mowing.
  • Do wear durable closed-toe shoes and close-fitting clothes, safety goggles and hearing protection are also recommended.
  • Do clear the mowing area of objects such as twigs, stones and toys.
  • Do stop mower and wait for blades to stop before looking at a lawn mower to fix it.
  • Do use care when going around corners, trees or anything that may block your view.
  • Do use caution when mowing a slope, to avoid slipping under the mower and into blades  and avoid tipping over.

What to avoid: 

  • Do not let children ride with you on a riding lawn mower or tractors.
  • Do not use a damaged mower until it has been repaired.
  • Do not mow while grass is wet, during poor lighting or during bad weather, such as a thunderstorm. Do not pull the mower backwards or mow in reverse if you can avoid it. If you must mow in reverse, look for children behind you.
  • Do not cross gravel paths, roads or other areas with mower on.
  • Do not remove safety equipment on mower.
  • Do not use alcohol while operating a mower or riding lawn mower. 

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