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Why you should think twice before letting your child mow the lawn

The grass is growing rapidly, and the children are looking for something to do - why not let them take the lawn mower out for a spin? Not so fast. New research suggests that parents should think twice before letting their children use lawn mowers - and before using a lawn mower when young children are nearby.

On average, about 4,800 children are injured by lawn mowers every year, according to researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital.The study analyzed 25 years of data on lawn mower injuries involving children under age 18. 

Although the annual injury rate decreased over the period from 1990 to 2014, lawn mowers continue to cause serious injuries. Some of the most serious injuries were to children simply near an operating lawn mower, researchers found. Some of the common ways children are injured by lawn mowers include: 

  • Touching a hot surface on the mower
  • Being struck by a rock or other projectile
  • Being hit by the mower
  • Being cut by a blade on the mower

While better lawn mower design could reduce some of these injuries, parents should also take some precautions. If your lawn needs mowing, it's best to let an adult handle it and to keep young children out of the yard during the process. If you decide to let older children mow the lawn, an adult should still supervise them. In addition, it's best to operate lawn mowers in the forward direction only and to make sure the blades are no longer operating when going over rocky surfaces.

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