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.
When mowing, be sure to follow these safety tips:
- Ensure that children are indoors or at a safe distance from the area you plan to mow.
- Clear the mowing area of any objects, such as twigs, stones and toys that could be picked up and thrown by the lawn mower blades.
- Make sure your mower is in good condition and protective guards, shields, the grass catcher and other safety equipment are placed properly.
- Wear sturdy closed-toe shoes with slip-proof soles, close-fitting clothes, hearing protection and safety goggles or glasses with side shields (especially when mowing near gravel).
- 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.