Press-Republican

Opinion

May 19, 2014

Cheers and Jeers: May 19, 2014

JEERS to a man spotted on Boynton Avenue in Plattsburgh recently holding a toddler in one arm while steering his riding lawn mower with the other.

According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, in 2011 3,780 kids under 14 were among the 83,291 treated in U.S. emergency rooms for injuries sustained from lawn mowers. In many of the cases, the children were hurt while riding on the laps of adults.

We’re especially moved because of all the wire stories we have seen over the years about kids being mangled from falling off mowers, combines and other farm-type equipment their parents thought would be fun to drive with the children on their laps or hanging onto the sides. It’s enough to make us shudder.

Here are some safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics and other medical groups:

• Don’t allow children under the age of 12 to operate a push mower or those under 16 to drive a riding mower.

• When children and adolescents are old enough to use mowers, teach them safety precautions, such as wearing goggles and sturdy shoes.

• Do not allow children to ride on mowers as passengers.

• Keep children off the lawn while mowing.

• Pick up potential flying objects, such as stones and toys, before you start mowing.

• Do not pull a mower backward or ride it in reverse unless absolutely necessary. If you do, carefully look for children behind you.

The mowing season has just begun afresh. We hope all adults take seriously the harm to which they could expose children by ignoring common sense.

CHEERS to the small towns in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties that, even though they have small staffs, struggling budgets and large demands on time and finances, have jumped into the Internet age and developed informative websites.

In gathering information for Press-Republican “Your Town” reports, we have come across both ends of the cyberspace spectrum.

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