Spring and Summer
More than 9,000 children go to the emergency room for a lawn mower related injury each year. When using a lawn mower it is important to practice safe habits to prevent an unintentional injury. Remember a lawn mower is not a toy, not for rides, keep kids inside!
- Children must be 12 years old to operate a push mower and 16 years old to operate a riding lawn mower. It is important to teach your child how to safely use a lawn mower. Spend time showing them how to operate the piece of equipment properly and safely. Teach them to turn off the lawn mower and make sure the blades stop completely before removing any debris. Supervise their work until you are sure they can manage the task alone.
- Teach children a lawn mower is not a toy, it is a dangerous piece of equipment. Lawn mowers can be an attractive piece of equipment for children. It is important you explain to children that they should never touch, play or go near the equipment even when they are off an the blades are not engaged.
- Never let anyone, including a child, ride as a passenger on a riding mower. Passengers, including children can easily fall off a lawn mower when riding especially when turning or uneven ground. Having a passenger or a child on your lap while using a lawn mower interfere with your ability to operate the machine safely. Lawn tractors and zero-turn mowers are designed for one person. Do not allow children to ride in the trailer of a riding lawn mower or pull children on their wheeled toys behind a riding lawn mower.
- Watch for kids! Keep children inside and make sure the area is clear before mowing the lawn. Teach children it is not safe to play near someone who is mowing their lawn. Mowers are very loud machines and most times the person mowing may not be able to hear or see a child approaching the mower.
- Prevent projectiles. Clear the yard of sticks, rocks, toys or other items that can be thrown by the mower. The operator of the lawn mower should wear appropriate hearing and eye protection.
Jumping on a trampoline can be a fun activity but it also has a high risk for injuries in children. Trampoline injuries can vary from sprains, fractures, head and neck injuries. If you allow your children to play on a trampoline, it is important to follow these safety tips.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:
- Children under the age of 6 should not be allowed to play on trampolines
- An adult should always actively supervise a child on a trampoline
- Only allow one child at a time to jump
- Discourage children from doing somersaults and flips on the trampoline
- Pad the frames, springs and immediate landing areas
- Remove ladders after use to avoid children getting on a trampoline unsupervised
- Make sure the trampoline sits on level ground. When deciding where to place a trampoline, find an area that is flat and clear of any potential hazards such as fences or trees. Never place a trampoline on concrete or any hard surface. It is best to place it over an area that is soft and can absorb energy. Some examples include placing a trampoline over sand, bark or other cushined materials.
- Do not let kids run under a trampoline. Injuries can happened to those standing too close to a trampoline. Never let children stand, crawl or sit under a trampoline, whether or not someone is jumping.
- Do not allow children to play on wet trampolines. Trampolines are slippery when wet and can pose a risk for an unintentional injury if a child slips while jumping.
- Teach children it is not safe to bounce off the trampoline. Encourage them to stop bouncing before they exit, walk to the edge, sit and slide off or use a ladder.
All-terrain and off-road vehicles are year long activities. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that riders should be at least 16 years of age. ATV's can be too large for smaller kids to handle. Operating an ATV requires a rider to make quick decisions and shift weight. Children under 16 are unlikely to make these choices or have the skills to carry them out. Whether on private or public land follow these tips in order to have a safe ride.
- An adult must actively supervise anyone under the age of 16 on an ATV/ORV. Active supervision means having direct observation and being close enough to come to the immediate aid of a youthful ATV/ORV operator.
- Riders under 16 years old must take an ATV safety training course and carry their certificate with them at ALL times. A list of available classes and resources can be found at https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/.
- Always wear an approved helmet and eye protection. Helmets with full face/chin protection are best. Replace helmets after a crash or fall.
- Only ride an ATV/ORV that is right for your age and size. Vehicles designed for younger riders are smaller and less powerful. A rider on an appropriately sized vehicle can reach all of the controls, have the strength and ability to operate them.
- Never let kids or teens drive an ATV with a passenger. For a youthful rider, passengers can make ATV/ORV unstable and difficult to control. Passengers can also cause distractions when a riders focus should be on the path.
- Use all safety equipment that comes with the vehicle, including seatbelts. Follow manufacturers guidelines for proper vehicle use. Make sure the safety equipment is functional and used correctly to avoid an unintentional injury.
As the weather gets warmer and brighter we see more people enjoying outdoor activities on wheels. Hoverboards, scooters, roller skates and of course bikes are some of the common ways both children and adults get around. In order to stay safe while on wheels, follow these tips:
- Wear a helmet when on anything with wheels: bicycles, scooters, skateboards, and roller skates. A helmet should sit on the top of your head in a level position and should not rock forward, backward, or side to side. The helmet straps must always be buckled! Wear a helmet certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
- Replace a helmet after any crash or fall even if it doesn’t look damaged. The foam part of a helmet is made for one-time use, and after crushing once it is no longer as protective as it was, even if it still looks intact.
- Wear bright clothes and put reflectors on your bike. This can help you stay safe and seen by others.
- Use bike lanes, bike routes, or sidewalks when available. Stop and check for traffic in both directions when leaving your driveway, an alley, or a curb.
- Just like cars, stop at all stop signs and obey traffic lights and signals. Walk your bike across busy intersections.
- Avoid distractions, be aware of your surroundings by listening and looking. Do not use earbuds or headphones when riding.
Drowning is a leading cause of death in children under 4 years old. It is important to teach children how to swim and to not play near water without adult supervision. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends teaching children how to swim as young as 1 year old to decrease the risk of drowning. Never leave a child unattended around water!
- Actively supervise children in and around water. Avoid distractions while watching children in or around water. If you have to walk away, identify another adult who will actively supervise children next. When infants or toddlers are in the water, an adult should be within arm’s reach.
- Teach children to never go near or in water without an adult present. This includes: bathtubs, toilets, buckets, containers, kiddie pools, etc. Empty kiddie pools, bathtubs, buckets and containers immediately after use and flip them upside down so they don't collect water.
- Don’t rely on swimming aids such as water wings or noodles. They should never be used in place of a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (PFD). Swimming aids are not a replacement for adult supervision.
- Teach children how to swim. Make sure children learn the following survival skills:
- Step or jump into water over their head and return to the surface.
- Float or tread water for one minute.
- Turn around in a full circle and find an exit from the water.
- Swim 25 yards to the exit.
- Exit from the water without using the ladder.
- Secure your backyard pool. Make sure backyard pools have four-sided fencing (4 feet tall) with a self-closing, self-latching gate. This will help prevent a child from entering the area unsupervised.
- Know the difference between swimming in pools and open water (tides, currents, undertow, and weather). Swimming in open water is not the same as swimming in a pool. Teach them how to be aware of limited visibility, uneven surfaces, river currents, ocean undertow, and changing weather.
Never leave a child alone in a vehicle even if the windows are cracked or the air conditioning is running. Approximately 40-50 children die each year due to heatstroke after being left in a car. Heat Stroke can happen when the body temperature reaches 104 degrees. A baby’s body heats up 3-5 times faster than an adult body.
- Children have died from heatstroke in cars when the temperature outside was as cool as 60 degrees. The inside of a vehicle heats up very quickly, even with the windows cracked. Cracking the windows does not help slow the heating process nor does it decrease the maximum temperature.
- Always check the backseat before exiting the vehicle and lock it to avoid children getting into the car on their own. Consider putting your bag or phone in the back seat as a reminder to look for kids or pets in the backseat.
- Teach children that vehicles are not a safe place to play. Many accidents happen when children are outside playing without supervision. Make sure vehicle remains locked and the keys are out of children's reach.
If you see a child alone in a car, call 911 immediately!