Lawn Mower Safety

The questions and answers in this brochure are designed to help you, as a parent, make healthy and safe choices for your children.

Is it safe for my child to ride on a riding mower?

No! It is never safe to allow a child to ride on a riding mower. Extra riders are distracting, block controls, and easily fall off. The child can suffer serious injury from the rotating blades of the mower.

Is it safe for my child to be in the yard while mowing?

No! Keep your child inside while cutting the grass.

  • Children will often run from behind into the path of the mower causing serious injury.
  • The operator of the mower is often unaware the child is around or is unable to hear the child approaching.
  • Children can be injured by toys, rocks, and other objects being thrown by the mowing blade.
  • Injuries from flying objects can result in blindness, loss of limbs, and even death.

What are some ways to make my yard safe?

Always keep yard tools out of reach of children. These include weed eaters, power saws and trimmers which are all a possible risk for injury. Keep all gasoline, insect killers and fertilizers labeled and away from children.

What are some more lawn mower safety tips?

  • Always read the operators manual carefully.
  • Do not mow in reverse.
  • Know how to stop the mower quickly.
  • Leave all safety features and warning labels intact.
  • Always clear mowing area of toys, sticks, and trash before mowing.
  • Never allow a child to control a mower.
  • Keep children and pets inside while mowing.
  • Never leave a running mower unattended.
  • Wear proper clothing including hard shoes and eye protection.
  • Children can also be burned by touching the mower. Keep children away from the mower at all times.
  • Always stay alert while mowing. Watch for children coming into the mowing area. Headphones are not recommended.
  • Never mow on wet grass.
  • Never mow in the dark or at twilight.

At what age can my child operate a mower?

  • A walk-behind mower can usually be operated by a child who is 12 years old. It is advised that a riding mower be operated by no one under 16 years of age.
  • Safety instruction and adult supervision is highly recommended and encouraged.
  • Consult your operator’s manual for further instruction and guidance.
  • Maturity, coordination, and judgment are recommended for safe operation of any piece of machinery

Lawn Mower Safety Brochure (PDF)

For more information, visit:

Center for Injury Research and Policy Lawn Mower Safety