Keep Kids Safe During Yard Work

Power tools make yard work easier, from mowing the lawn to trimming the bushes. These tools, however, also pose a threat to children if precautions aren't taken.

Accidents involving lawnmowers send thousands of children age 18 or younger to emergency rooms each year, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says. And several thousand more are hurt by other outdoor power tools. Adults aren't immune from lawn mowers injuries. In the US, about 68,000 adults and children are hurt by lawnmowers each year, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Lawnmower injuries include cuts and other injuries to arms and legs, loss of fingers and limbs, and eye injuries from flying debris.

"Most of these injuries can be prevented if young children [under 14] are properly supervised or simply kept out of the work area," says Martin Eichelberger, chairman of Safe Kids Worldwide. Here's some advice from Safe Kids and other groups:

  • Keep children out of any work area where you're using outdoor power equipment, including lawnmowers, weed trimmers, edgers, chippers, shredders and log splitters.

  • If a child enters a work area, turn off any outdoor power device at once.

  • Don't let a young child operate or play with outdoor power equipment, even when it's not in use.

  • Never allow passengers on riding mowers or tow trailers carrying children.

  • Clear the work area of any objects such as twigs, stones and toys that could be thrown by lawnmower blades or other equipment.

  • Look for children before and while you back up and when you go around corners, shrubs, trees or other obstacles.

  • Wear sturdy shoes (not sandals or sneakers) while mowing.

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