Why Lawn Mowers Are So Unsafe for Children
Summer in Illinois is shorter than we’d like, and few people actually enjoy mowing the lawn during these warm months. Wouldn’t you rather be fishing on Lake Michigan or the Chain of Lakes, golfing at any of the many golf courses in the Chicago area, swimming at the beach, biking in the forest preserves, or doing pretty much anything else besides mowing the lawn? But it has to get done. Whether you choose to mow your lawn yourself or hire landscaping services to do the job for you, mowers are dangerous. Riding mowers are potentially even more dangerous, especially when they are models which have the ability to mow while they are being driven in reverse.
Lawn Mowers: Designed For Adults Only
Most parents realize that lawn mowers are designed to be used by adults. They rarely consider the fact that not all manufacturers recognize and accept their own responsibility to children, who are frequently exposed to the dangers of lawn mowers. They are unaware of safety features that are available that can keep children safer when they are around mowers. We all know that kids play in their yards during the summer, and often, that’s when the lawns are mowed. Mower manufacturers know that too! One manufacturer even sells cute, realistic metal and plastic lawn mower and tractor toys for children, no doubt to make them familiar with their brand. Little Joey riding his tractor, just like Dad! The real machines are NOT safe for kids. Unfortunately, many young children are fascinated with tractors and riding mowers, and may be tempted to get close to the real thing.
Safer Lawn Mower Design Needed
Unfortunately, we see this all too often. A youngster may want to go for a ride on the mower with Dad, or help Mom cut the grass—and the adults simply don’t see them approach. Some of these machines are not designed with safety features for kids in mind, even though one slip or a tumble near the mower can result in serious injury, amputation or even death. We often have to help parents recover from the shock and anger they face after they come to understand how dangerous their seemingly innocuous machine really was for their child.
The responsibility for safer lawn mower design rests with the manufacturers. Because of the often-obstructed visibility that riding mower operators have while driving the mower in reverse, no riding mower should be able to operate in reverse while its blades are engaged. Mower accessories, such as leaf and grass catchers, should be designed to allow the greatest visibility to the rear of the mower. But the dangers still exist. There are some things you can try to do to keep your kids and others safe this summer:
- When choosing a riding lawnmower, select one which cannot be used to mow in reverse.
- Ask the dealer to see any accessories you might be using installed, so that you can assess the visibility of your surroundings with the accessories in place before you buy.
- Don’t let your kids play on or near a lawn mower.
- Don’t let your kids ride on the mower with you or another adult, even for a short distance.
- Don’t let your children operate a riding or any powered lawn mower until they are old enough to operate a mower responsibly. Make sure that they are properly instructed in the safety features and safe use of the mower they will be using.
- Children should not be allowed to use any push-style or riding lawn mower.
- Anybody operating a lawn mower should wear closed shoes instead of sandals.
- Don’t mow in reverse! If you have to operate the mower in reverse, make sure the blades are not engaged and be extremely cautious. It’s all too easy to accidentally run over a small child who has approached the mower from behind. Many riding mowers have attachments which make it even harder to see the area behind them, even when you’re looking!
What to Do If a Lawn Mower Accident Does Occur
As a result of the lack of safety features on lawn mowers, even the most vigilant parents may find their child the victim of a terrible accident. Warm weather means that the lawn will need to be mowed and that children will be around. If your child is hurt by a mower, after they’ve received prompt medical attention, you’ll want to find out what caused the accident. Was the mower defective? Was the accident caused by negligence? Or were key safety features missing on the mower that could have prevented injury?
If your child was hurt in a lawn mower accident, you may very well be able to take action to recover your child’s and your damages if it was due to a defective mower or negligence. Please call us today or start an online chat with us now to find out more, and please share this article with your friends and family so that they can take steps to protect their own children.