Lawn mower accidents: How to protect your children, avoid lawn mower injuries

Incidents like the Palm Harbor toddler who lost her legs in a lawn mower are tragic occurrence, but unfortunately, they aren't uncommon in the United States.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 253,000 were treated for lawn-mower related injuries in 2010, with 17,000 of those victims being children under age 19.

Robert W. Block, MD and president of APP say these incidents increase as the summer approaches.

"Every year at this time, in far too many neighborhoods, children are operating or playing around lawn mowers in unsafe ways. And every summer, thousands get hurt…We want parents and kids to be more aware of precautions to take so that injuries can be prevented," he said.

When doing something as routine as cutting your grass, it's easy to forget how powerful and potentially dangerous a lawn mower can be, particularly heavy-duty driving mowers.

To keep your family safe, here are some guideline reminders from experts at AAP and the Consumer Product Safety Commission to keep in mind when mowing your grass.

-          Remember that these machines can throw objects at a high rate of speed. Pick up objects that can become flying projectiles—such as stones or toys, to prevent them from getting picked up by the lawn mower once it starts. This will help to prevent  injuries and accidents.

-          Do not pull the mower backward or mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary. If you must, look out for children behind you.

-          Don't allow kids to ride as passengers on ride-on mowers.

-          Keep children out of the yard during mowing.

-          Children must me at least 12 before using a push lawn mower, and 16 to operate a driving lawn mower.

-          Have anyone who uses a mower or is in the vicinity wear polycarbonate protective eyewear at all times.

-          Make sure to wear sturdy closed-toed shoes and avoid sandals or sneakers while mowing.

For more information on lawn mower safety, please visit the following links:

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