What's Going Around: Avoiding lawn mower accidents

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COLUMBUS - The sound of lawn care equipment in neighborhoods throughout Central Ohio is a familiar one. This week in our 'What's Going Around' report, we get a reminder from emergency medicine experts to put safety first or risk serious injury.

While it is common for parents to give children the chore of lawn mowing, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported kids should be at least 12 years old for a push mower and 16 if they will operate a riding mower.

At least 17,000 children are rushed to emergency departments each year because of lawn mower accidents. Dr. Mike Patrick of Nationwide Children's hospital said mowers should be treated as the dangerous machinery they are--which means never allowing kids to join you on riding mower. Dr. Mike said it can be a fatal move for kids, “ The lawn mower can overturn the child can fall over. We see people -- children-- run over by lawn mowers so it's not a good idea at all in any circumstance to take a child on a riding lawn mower."

Make sure you know all the safety information for your piece of lawn equipment. Read the manual, all the stickers on the machine and leave them in place. Inspect yard for obstacles including rocks, branches or toys before you start mowing. Do not mow wet grass.

In an emergency, Dr. Mike says you should assume the worst and call 911.