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Gov't Warning: Don't Allow Children On Riding Lawnmowers

Release Date: May 25, 1990

In the wake of a riding lawnmower accident last week that amputated the feet of a five-year old Ohio boy, government safety experts are again warning parents not to allow youngsters to ride on riding mowers or garden tractors.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a Geauga County, Ohio, boy was sitting on the lap of his father who was operating a riding lawnmower. The boy subsequently fell and was trapped under the riding mower.

CPSC said injuries and deaths to young children under the age of ten could be reduced or eliminated if children were prohibited from riding on garden tractors and riding mowers, or playing in the area when the machines are being used. One of every five deaths associated with riding mowers and garden tractors involves children under age ten. Deaths most often occur when youngsters fall off the mower and are run over by the machine, or when they run or fall in the mower's path and are run over.

A Government survey shows that 54 percent of households with children under ten years of age do allow youngsters to ride on the lawn-mowing equipment. This extremely unsafe practice continues despite labels and warnings to the contrary by outdoor power equipment manufacturers.

CPSC and equipment manufacturers urge parents to follow these safety precautions:

- Never allow children to ride on garden tractors or riding mowers.

- Keep children indoors and supervised at all times when any outdoor powered equipment is being used. Young children move quickly and are attracted to the mower and the mowing activity, especially if they have been given rides before.

- Never assume children will remain where you last saw them. Be alert and turn the mower off if children enter the area. Use extra care when approaching corners, shrubs and trees.

- Never allow children to operate a riding mower or tractor, even under supervision.

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About the U.S. CPSC
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years. 

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