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Published: Thursday, 5/18/2006

Riding Mowers Not Meant For Child's Ride

As the days grow warmer and the grass grows longer, the potential for accidents involving children and riding mowers increases as well.

Giving a child a ride on a riding mower, even with the blades off, sends the wrong message: that the mower is a fun ride and not a machine with rotating blades that may cause serious injuries. After being given a ride, a child may run out for another one when you are mowing and you may not hear or see the child approach. He or she may slip and fall into the path of a mower, dart out from behind an object or be playing behind the mower, unseen by you. These situations can lead to serious, life-altering accidents.

Protect children. Tell them that riding mowers are potentially dangerous machines, not toys. Tell them you have a family safety rule about riding mowers: when they can hear the mower running, they have to be inside and stay there.

As an operator, protect children by making sure they are inside, under adult supervision. Stop mowing and turn off the engine if children or others are near. Look down and behind you before and while backing up to avoid accidents.

When finished mowing, always store and lock the riding mower and keys away from children, and never allow a child to play on or around a riding mower.

Remember, the blades of a riding mower rotate at speeds of 200 miles per hour. Just as you wouldn t let a child operate a food processor, so should you keep children away from a riding mower.

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