A common question parents ask this time of year is: When is my child old enough to mow the lawn? Before a child takes on that job, ask yourself: Does he or she exhibit the maturity, good judgment, strength and coordination that the job requires?

In general, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children should be at least:

  • 12 years of age to operate a walk-behind power mower or hand mower safely
  • 16 years of age to operate a riding lawn mower safely

Before allowing your child to mow the lawn alone, show him or her how to do the job safely. Be sure to supervise your child’s work until you are sure that he or she can handle it alone.

Make safety a priority

Did you know that more than 9,000 children go to the emergency room for lawn mower-related injuries every year? Most lawn mower-related injuries can be prevented by following these safety tips.

  • Keep children out of the yard while mowing.
  • Prevent injuries from flying objects, such as stones or toys, by picking up objects from the lawn before mowing begins.
  • Make sure your mower is in good condition, and protective guards, shields, the grass catcher and other safety equipment are placed properly.
  • Have anyone who uses a mower wear hearing and eye protection.
  • Ensure that the operator wears sturdy shoes while mowing. No bare feet, open-toed shoes or flip flops.
  • Never allow children to ride as passengers on a ride-on mower.
  • Do not pull the mower backward or mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary. If you must mow in reverse, look for children or objects behind you.
  • Use extra caution when mowing a slope.

For more safety information from the American Academy of Pediatrics, click here.