News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
SUNDAY, APRIL 15, 2007
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Mower safety especially important for children

To The Daily: During this time of year, I frequently see adults on riding lawnmowers, operating the unit with children on their laps. I get nervous when I see this. Each year in the United States, approximately 9,400 children receive emergency care for lawnmower-related injuries. About one-fourth of these injuries are to children younger than 5 years of age. Power lawnmowers cause 22 percent of amputation injuries among children.

Young children must not be allowed to play in or be adjacent to areas where lawn mowers are being used.

Children younger than 6 years old should be kept indoors during mowing.

Children must not be allowed to ride as passengers on mowers or to be towed behind mowers in carts or trailers. They should not be permitted to play on or around the mower when it is in use or in storage.

Children should not operate lawn mowers until they have displayed the necessary levels of judgment, strength, coordination and maturity. They should also be educated in mower operation and safety and be supervised by an adult before they are allowed to operate a mower by themselves. Most children will not be ready to operate a walk-behind power mower or hand mower until at least 12 years of age or a ride-on mower until at least 16 years of age.

Safety is also a concern for people operating small utility tractors. All tractors should be equipped with a roll bar. If a roll bar is in place, then seat belts should be used. Never should the operator allow a passenger to ride and most especially a child. The children of our country are subjected to so many other dangerous things in life without the parents endangering them in their own yard.

Robert A. Bryant
Decatur

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