As you get older, you may be asked to help around the house more often. It’s great to have more responsibility. But some chores can be dangerous, especially when they involve tools. We talked to Injury prevention expert Dr. Garry Gardner, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ committee on injury, violence, and poison prevention. He suggested some top Ups for staying safe.
Not sure how to do a certain task? Ask! There are ways to make jobs easier and safer. For instance, when shoveling snow, there’s no need to throw it. Snow shovels are designed to push snow out of a path. Or are you putting something together, such as a piece of outdoor equipment? Read the instructions. That will save you time and effort and help you do it safely.
Gardner says tasks become more dangerous when people aren’t paying attention. So if you are using a lawn mower to clean up leaves, don’t zone out to music or text a friend on your cell phone. Lawn mowing and leaf blowing are often some of the big chores teens do. They can also be among the most dangerous, no matter what your age. “Focus on the job at hand,” Gardner says. “It’s not a time to multitask.”
Dress For Success
Be sure that you are properly dressed for the job. If it is cold out, wear warm layers and a pair of gloves. Proper footwear is always a must. If you are going to be around hammers and nails, wear sturdy shoes. For mowing or raking the lawn, choose closed-toe shoes. “It’s tempting to walk through the grass in your bare feet,” Gardner notes, but you need to protect your feet from the mower or rake itself, as well as any rocks or objects that may be in the grass. Will you be climbing a ladder? Wear sneakers to ensure you get a good grip on the rungs.
Outdoor chores can be a lot of work. But helping out feels good. And it’s fun to spend time with your family while you all work together to get the job done.
Did You Know?
Kids in the United States spend an average of 24 minutes a day on housework and chores.