Recently there was a segment in the cartoon pages of a grandparent-like individual mowing and allowing a toddler sitting on his lap to steer the riding lawn mower. Needless to say there was a collision and humorous dialogue following the incident. This cartoon demonstrates many positive actions such as the importance of adults and children working together and the importance of chores in the development of children. The crash also demonstrates that children cannot be expected to control machinery, particularly dangerous machinery.

There are at least 17 types of lawn mowers from the traditional push mower invented in 1830 to riding tractors. Some are powered by gasoline, some by battery or electricity. Some are self-propelled, other have to be pushed. Some hover and some are even robotic. As they are designed to cut, all are dangerous, and the more powerful, the more dangerous.

Sally Robinson is a clinical professor of pediatrics at UTMB Children’s Hospital. This column isn’t intended to replace the advice of your child’s physician.

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