SATURDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- Whether they are riding with an adult or just playing nearby, children should never be in close proximity to a running lawn mower, a doctor warns.
"Kids should never be around a running lawn mower. And children under the age of 16 should not be allowed to operate either a riding lawn mower or walk-behind mower," Dr. Edwin Harris, pediatric podiatrist with the Loyola University Health System, said in a university news release.
Harris, who has treated children who have lost toes or portions of their feet in lawn mower accidents, pointed out that although such mower mishaps are devastating, they are totally preventable. Yet according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), over 200,000 people, including 16,200 kids, were injured in lawn mower accidents in 2007 alone.
This summer, Harris concluded, parents and guardians could prevent their child from becoming another grim statistic by following the CPSC safety guidelines regarding lawn mower safety:
- Children should be supervised by another adult who isn't mowing the lawn and kept away from the mowing area.
- Lawn mowers should be turned off if a child approaches the mowing area.
- Anyone operating a mower should look behind the mower and down for small children -- especially when moving backwards.
- Children should never sit on the lap of someone operating a ride-on mower -- even when the blade is shut off.
- Don't let young kids ever operate any type of lawn mower.
- The person operating the lawn mower should be mindful of the fact that blind corners, shrubs and trees could block their view of a child.
- Sturdy shoes with rubber soles or good traction should be worn to prevent any slipping while mowing.
"As we head into the peak of the lawn mowing season, I'm hoping operators of lawn mowers will follow these common-sense precautions," Harris said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics provides additional tips on lawn mower safety.
-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
SOURCE: Loyola University Health System, news release, May 26, 2011
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