Can't seem to reach that spot of grass unless the mower is in reverse? Take a careful look because someone might be behind you.

Approximately 9,400 children younger than age 18 receive emergency care annually for lawn mower-related injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Eye injuries, deep cuts, loss of fingers and toes,and burns are some of the injuries that require medical attention.

Children under age 6 may be attracted to the action of lawn mowers, but parents should keep them away, said Gary Smith, M.D., Dr.P.H., FAAP, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics' (AAP's) Committee on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention. Most children will not have the maturity, coordination or strength to operate a walk-behind power mower or hand mower until age 12 or a riding mower until age 16, according to the AAP.

Parents can protect their children from lawn mower injuries by following these safety precautions:

  • Children younger than 6 years should be kept indoors during mowing, while children older than 6 should avoid areas that are being mowed.

  • Children should not be allowed to ride as passengers on mowers or be towed behind mowers in carts or trailers.

  • Do not drive or push mowers over non-grass surfaces, such as gravel, while the blade is operating.

  • Wear long pants, sturdy shoes (not sandals), and eye and hearing protection.

  • To prevent injuries from flying ob jects, pick up stones, toys and debris from the lawn before mowing and use a grass catcher.

  • If possible, use a newer lawn mower that has safety features such as blade shields or screens to prevent flying objects. Lawn mowers also should have a feature that stops the blades if the machine is put in reverse and a control that stops it from moving forward if the handle is released.

  • If buying a used lawn mower, check for broken or missing parts.

  • When done mowing, keep children from touching the lawn mower to prevent burns.