During landscaping season, one of the biggest threats to children are lawn mowers. Throughout the average year, an astounding 800 children are ran over by a lawn mower or other heavy lawn equipment. Around 600 of these incidents result in amputation for the child. While the death statistics are much lower, 75 people a year, every 1 in 5 of those people are children. This is the unfortunate truth that not many people are aware of. It is imperative that steps are taken to protect surrounding children when a lawn mower is being operated.
The first, most important step is to educate children on the dangers associated with lawn mowers and other lawn care machinery. Often times, a child will not understand exactly how these machines work, so a thorough explanation could deter their fascinations and keep them far away while they are in operation. Be sure to mention:
- Sharp, spinning blades that can remove limbs or cause death.
- The weight of the machine alone could hurt or kill them.
- Rocks, sticks, and various other objects can be ejected from the deck of the lawn mower and hit them, causing injury or death.
Once a child has a firm understanding of these concepts, they are far less likely to willingly put themselves in danger around lawn mowers. If your child is old enough to operate a lawn care machine, not only should they have a complete understanding of the concepts above, they should learn about the specific machine they will be operating. A thorough reading of the user manual and trial runs with an adult nearby are a necessity.
Of course, the most important responsibilities fall on the person operating the lawn mower or lawn care machine. Any person that is operating one of these must:
- Make sure all children are cleared from the work area, if at all possible.
- NEVER let a child ride on a lawn mower or lawn care machine in addition to the driver. This includes sitting in the drivers lap, standing on the floorboard, or sitting in the seat next to the driver.
- Always keep an eye out for children, even if there seems to be none around.
In addition to these, there are a few more things to be aware of. Be diligent in clearing the area that is being landscaped. All rocks, sticks, glass, and objects alike should be thoroughly searched for and removed to avoid the possibility of ejecting them from the lawn mower and injuring any person nearby. Likewise, the machine that will be operated should be checked beforehand for proper operations such as brakes, steering, and speed control.
While the above information is essential to know, there are other things to check off the list to keep a child safe around a lawn mower. A child should have up to date hearing and vision tests to rule out any issues they may have realizing they are in danger.
All of this information can help to lessen the number of child injuries and fatalities due to lawn mowers and other lawn care machines.