Remember when we were kids and our parents would shove us out the door, give us control of the lawn mower, and tell us to have at it and that we better not ask to come inside until the whole lawn was finished? Oh, and we were like 8 years old when we started mowing.

Times sure have changed.

Recently, I found myself thinking about my lawn needing to be mowed and then about how when I was a kid, responsibilities seemed to have come at a much younger age than the responsibilities kids today are given.

I wasn’t allowed to use the push-behind lawn mower until I was 12 because I was so short that I couldn't see over the handle, but I vividly remember being set outside with the manual old-fashioned push mower – the kind with just the blades but no gas or electricity. I was around seven years old when it became my job to use that contraption to help mow my grandparent’s yard.

Then, I thought of my son who is 9 and on the cusp of being able to do so much, and what an exciting time in life this is for him. I also wondered whether New York has laws about when children can start operating push behind lawn mowers.

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With all of the laws that New York has this may come as a surprise but there is no specific law in New York regarding the minimum age for operating a lawn mower. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children should be at least 12 years old to operate a walk-behind mower and at least 16 years old to operate a riding mower.

The reason the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests a child be at least 12 years old to operate a push-behind mower is that a child should be large enough and strong enough to start the mower, steer it, manage its controls, and keep all four wheels on the ground. Of course, it’s also important to consider the responsibility and maturity level of your child.

And what about having your child sit on your lap while you ride your riding mower? The American Academy of Pediatrics says that all children under the age of 12 should be kept away from active lawn mowers which includes riding on the back bumper or sitting on a parent's lap.

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