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I'm sure this largely has to do with personality (well behaved, cautious) as it does age, but what is an appropriate age for kids to start using a push lawn mower? Or a riding mower?

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

We had to go by size and strength rather than age. Our oldest is small for her age, so she and her sister started together. I went by "big enough to push the lawn mower and smart enough not to stick their hands underneath." That turned out to be 12 for the oldest and 10 1/2 for the second. Our third started when he was 10, but mainly because he wanted in on bidding for the job...

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+1 for hilarious capitalism –  deworde Jun 3 '11 at 9:39
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I rode my grandpas riding mower at nine or ten. The problem was more a question of not being able to actually do the job than safety at that point, meaning my grandpa had to go out and do it again to get the spots I missed.

So, fun, but hardly useful at that age.

I did, usefully but not enjoyably, mow my parents lawn with a manual mower at about the same age too.

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Clearly depends on how mature the child is, not how old they are.

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While I agree with you, this isn't a particularly helpful answer. If you believe maturity is more relevant than age, then your answer should include some way of identifying if a child is mature enough. As it is now, your response is more along the lines of "you asked the wrong question", rather than a useful answer. –  Beofett Jun 3 '11 at 19:44
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