Fort Worth, Texas,
11:21 AM

Why your children should stay inside while you mow the lawn

And nope, they can't just stand on the patio and watch.

You really can’t go into summer without the looming chore of yardwork staring at you. But summer is supposed to be fun in the sun! Sand in your hand! Cool in the pool! Whether you are mowing or you have someone doing it for you, those lawn mowers are going to get a lot of use over the next four to five months.

Get out there early, get it done, so you can enjoy the rest of your day – but here’s the catch – and parents, I’m talking to you! Look me in the eye and repeat after me:

“I will make my children stay inside while I mow the lawn!”

I know your child LOVES the lawn mower. They love pushing their toy lawn mower behind Daddy's real one. I know how cute it is. I know they love sitting on your lap while you ride around on the lawn mower. Again, cute. 

Well, tough cookies. Because as cute as any of this may be, it's also a MAJOR safety issue and one I take very seriously.

In my line of work as a prosthetic/orthotic clinician, amputations are an unfortunate fact of life for a small portion of the pediatric population. The saddest cases are those that are completely preventable, and these traumatic lawn mowing accidents are exactly that. If your child is lucky enough to avoid an amputation after a run in with a lawn mower, they are still going through a very scary and traumatic injury. And let’s not get started on what the driver of the lawn mower will have to contend with for the rest of his or her life.

I can hear some of you arguing with me as you read this now: “But the lawn mower doesn’t go that fast." "The push ones go as speedy as my legs do." "The riding mowers aren’t moving more than 6 miles per hour.”

It’s not how fast your lawn mower goes, it’s how fast those sharp things underneath spin! I’ll spare you the math (*ahem, Google searching*) but a blade on a lawn mower can move anywhere from 18,000-18,500 feet per minute. (The government limits this speed to under 19,000). To translate that into lawn mower talk, that’s 150-200 miles per hour!

“Ok, so they won’t be in the yard, but they can watch from the patio.”

Sure, just like they stayed right behind you at the store. How many grocery isles did you go down before you found them in front of the cookies? How many clothing racks did you upend before you heard that familiar giggling from the ActiveWear section? Kids wander, and the last surprise you want is one that could threaten life or limb. Oh, and don’t get me started on the projectiles. I’ve personally had windows in my home broken from flying rocks. And just last week a flying piece of rebar punctured the leg of a friend and shattered the bone. So, inside it is!

“Yeah, but the chances of that actually happening … it certainly won’t happen to me.” Famous last words. Each year 10,000 children are seen at emergency centers across the country because of lawn mowing accidents. Last year at Cook Children's, we saw five children injured because of lawn mowers. We've already seen two kids involved in mower accidents.

While we have many tools at our disposal in prosthetics to create a new limb for an amputee to walk on, it will always be secondary to the one God gave us. So let’s be smart this summer, keep those kiddos busy inside while you work toward that coveted “Yard of the Month” award. And once the lawn mower is put away, then enjoy your family fun time outdoors!

About the author

Jillian Warden is a prosthetic/orthotic clinician at Cook Children's. With the goal of providing the right care by the right person in the right setting, Cook Children's Home Health offers orthotic and prosthetic services. Whether outpatient at our office or in our numerous clinic settings, we strive to give our pediatric patients the best orthotic and prosthetic care. 

Comments 1 - 2 (2)
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This is also because the equipment may not be safe for the kids. Accidents can happen anytime, it's just right to be cautious.
Jeannie Parsley
My husband great nephew was I car/truck with the window part the way down. So one was mowing, some how something flew through the opened window of the vehicle. He was about 7 years old. The object hit him in the eye and damaged it. So for the rest of his life he will have to wear a prosthetic eye for the rest of his life do to a lawn mower accident that could have been prevented.