As the temperature rises and the days get longer, the amount of attention that your lawn requires also increases. For parents who are considering outdoor chores for their brood, there are some safety rules that should be taken into account before sending them outside. Here are 10 of the most important guidelines that should be instituted when kids help out with yard work.
- Teach Proper Tool Use – It’s easy to assume that older kids have a handle on the use of basic lawn tools, but those without hands-on experience may be a bit confused. This can lead to serious injury if tools are mishandled, so it’s a good idea to outline the basics.
- Supervision is Key – For younger children, it’s absolutely essential that they be supervised at all times. Work alongside them or even on another task nearby, but never let them work while you’re inside or on the other side of your property.
- Keep Little Ones Inside During Mowing – Kids are fascinated with riding lawnmowers, so it might be difficult to keep them indoors while an adult cuts the grass. Still, the potential for flying debris and injury from the blades is too great to allow for close observation.
- More On Mowers – In addition to keeping smaller kids indoors while an adult is mowing the lawn, it’s a good rule of thumb that those under the age of 13 be deemed too young to operate a mower. This rule can be flexible; you know your child’s abilities and level of responsibility best. However, be sure that they are well-informed about safety measures and instructed on proper operation.
- Insist On Proper Footwear – Summertime might be flip-flop weather, but kids and adults alike should wear shoes that cover the entire foot and lace securely during lawn work. In addition to the chance of injury due to mishandled equipment, there are also a myriad of other things that can cause injury if stepped on.
- Keep Kids Away From Chemicals – Though more and more parents are opting for organic or “green” lawn and garden solutions, it’s still important to treat all additives as if they’re potentially harmful and to keep kids entirely clear of traditional, chemical-based solutions.
- Store Everything Properly – At the end of a yard work session, kids should be instructed to return everything to its proper storage space. Rakes, hoes and shovels left lying in the lawn can be obscured and cause injury if stepped on.
- Wear Proper Protective Clothing – Kids should wear protective gear to shield their eyes, close-fitting clothing that is less likely to be caught in any mechanical equipment, and plenty of sunscreen.
- Stay Hydrated – Summer heat can be downright brutal in some places, so it’s important that kids know to stay well hydrated and to come inside if they feel overheated. These rules can also be applied to outdoor play.
- No Horseplay Allowed – Kids are, by nature, prone to rough-housing and horseplay. They need to understand, however, that it isn’t allowed during lawn work. There are too many potentially-dangerous situations that arise from this sort of behavior when tools are involved.
On average, up to 68,000 American adults and children are injured each year by riding lawnmowers. Though they may beg and plead, it’s never a good idea to let kids ride as a passenger on the lawnmower or ride in a trailer on the back.