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April 22, 2021

UW Health offers lawn mower safety reminders

Madison, Wis. – As the weather warms up, the familiar sound of lawn mowers can be heard in neighborhoods across Wisconsin. While this can be a welcome sign of spring and summer, UW Health experts want to remind the community this can bring the risk of serious lawn mower accidents, especially for children.

According to the Child Injury Prevention Alliance, thousands of children in the United States are treated for lawn mower-related injuries every year, including injuries to fingertips, hands, arms, legs and feet.

“Every year we see several very serious injuries at American Family Children’s Hospital related to lawn mowers, and these usually happen when the person mowing is distracted for a split-second,” said Jessica Draper, nurse practitioner at American Family Children’s Hospital’s Level I Pediatric Trauma Center. “The good news is most of these accidents can be prevented by using a few simple guidelines.”

  • Don’t start mowing until you know where all kids are, and they should be inside if possible.

  • If they are outside, tell them to stay out of the yard while you are mowing and/or find a supervisor who is not mowing to watch them.

  • Never allow a child to ride as a passenger on a riding lawn mower.

  • Teach children that lawn mowers are not toys and can be dangerous.

  • A child should be at least 12 years old before using a push mower.

  • A child should be at least 16 before using a riding lawn mower.

UW Health's Jessica Draper goes over lawn mower safety points — including the 6/12/16 rule.