Is it okay to leave a child alone in the house while you are out mowing?

Holly - posted on 07/11/2011 ( 68 moms have responded )

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My husband goes out to mow the lawn while he leaves our 3 year old twins unattended in the house alone. He says he checks on them every few minutes. I dont think this is okay. what does everyone else think?

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Lucy - posted on 07/12/2011

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My twins are 3 1/2, I leave them unattended whilst showering, popping outside to feed the chickens etc. they are very well behaved and always sit and play or watch tv whilst I do it, I tell them where I am if they need me and 9 times out of 10 they are behind me within minutes but if they are not they are always in the exact same place they were when I went out of the room, I think that you are the only one who knows your children well enough to say yes or no to leaving them, its your choice, do not be influenced by others opinions, they do not know you or your children, plus its different with twins, everything is different! I have a daughter too and having the twins is completely different to having one child, or two or three children at different ages!

Teresa - posted on 08/15/2011

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This is a hard one. I am a single mom & obviously you can't mow while they nap. I just kept the glass door open & locked and they pretty much stand there and watch me. If I see an empty door I go and investigate. You do what you have to do.

[deleted account]

Lucy, you sound like you're making excuses for bad judgement. And it's not that are children are 'that bad' it's that they are curious and have no concept of what could happen if they did something that may sound like fun to them, but is actually dangerous. I have a 3 year old and I wouldn't leave her alone in the house. What if she fell, or pulled a chair over on herself? What if she climbed up on my cabinet via using the drawers and fell off? What if she put something in her mouth and choked? There are just way too many 'what ifs' involved. In my experience, if you what if....it's a bad idea because you already know things can happen.

Lucy - posted on 07/13/2011

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Jaclyn, my twins are 3 1/2 and they are no problem, they are well behaved and we are lucky to be able to leave them unattended whilst doing things like showering etc, every child is different and twins as you should no are totally different! Any child of any age has the risk of choking, would you not leave an 11 year old in case they choked? Everyone seems to be a little uptight and way too stressed to trust their children for 5 minutes, are your children all that bad?

Katherine - posted on 07/14/2011

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I have to agree with Darcy and it takes a lot longer than 5 min to mow a lawn. The fact that your husband cannot see or hear them is what would worry me. If he puts them in a play pen or play yard then it would be ok, but if they have the run of the house then there are just too many things that would interest toddlers. I think it would be best that you and your husband discuss this further and make him understand how uncomfortable this makes you.

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Heather - posted on 12/20/2013

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I leave my 3 & 4 year old in the house alone while I deliver papers around our complex. I check in every 5-10 minutes and I'm outside for no more than 25 minutes. They usually watch TV while I'm out. Today we taught them how to call my cell phone if they need me. My husband sees no problem with this either.

Casey - posted on 09/01/2013

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Three is a little young. I would worry also. I suppose it depends on the child, how the house is set up, how long he is out there... etc, but when my daughter was three I still worried about things like her falling down stairs or even her deciding to get in to locked cupboards and such. She is to this day, too smart for her own good sometimes. I am just now feeling better about leaving her in the house while mowing the lawn (she's nearly six) because I know she is ok for a couple minutes, and can open the door if she needs me. I used to be able to let her take a nap and put up a gate while I took a shower if that helps (I knew she was definately safe there).
As for the kid on the lap on the mower thing... I have many police officer s and firefighters in my family who have seen what can happen. You never know what can go wrong. Please use your best judgment and make sure your children are safe.

Merry - posted on 09/01/2013

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Sounds dangerous to me. If they were napping then maybe. Or a few years older.
But usually at that age I'd not trust my kids to be out of sight AND out of earshot.
I'd rather have them coloring on the sidewalk so I could at least see them.

Charity - posted on 09/01/2013

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I was actually very surprised how people felt about allowing my children to sit on a parents lap while mowing. It never occurred to me to be a "dangerous" activity for my children. they are never left unattended and my husband is careful and a lawnmower does not go very fast. even if an odd circumstance happened there are many safety features I don't feel as I am putting my children at high risk. I know my children and my husband and I feel comfortable with the activity. Statistically, you are more likely to run over your kid in the driveway or get in a car accident with them. It does not stop us from driving cars. We are extra careful, right? Also, one of the leading causes of childhood death is drowning. Does it mean we don't let them swim or we don't own pools? No, we are safe and careful. Certainly would not allow my child to mow the lawn with a riding lawnmower which may be the Illegal you speak of. However sitting on dads lap on a lawn mower is not something I see as a high risk activity and certainly not illegal! I have made an informed decision on that. I don't have a problem if you don't feel comfortable with it. That is OK! I just had to rant.

Charity - posted on 08/31/2013

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I know there are laws about children DRIVING riding lawnmowers unsure about sitting on a parents lap. Personally I am more concerned if the kids are playing in the same yard area that is being mowed rather than sitting safely on dads lap in a new model lawn mower. Any debri is typically thrown out and away. Yes accidents could happen in each scenario. I don't debate if you don't feel comfortable please don't do it.

Amy - posted on 08/30/2013

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eh...I think it depends on the kid, location, and how baby-proofed the house is. If they are watching a movie or quietly playing and not getting into things (you can usually tell when you come in to check on them), then it should be fine.Obviously, if he's checking on them and not finding esses, then they're doing pretty well with it. I would think that if he were coming in to messes, he would have stopped on his own bc it wasn't working. Honestly, they're safer in the house anyway. It is not safe to have the kids near the mower. Too much gets thrown around by it. If he were to hit something hidden in the yard, it could sling it into them and then they'd be really hurt! If we're talking about a fairly small yard (say an acre or less) then it shouldn't take long to mow anyway and means they're not left semi-alone for long.

Jen - posted on 08/30/2013

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I would warn you that putting children (esp 2 of them) on a riding lawnmower with you, as Charity suggested, is illegal in some states and dangerous everywhere. I'd say it depends on your kids' personalities. If they can be trusted to stay in a certain area, either inside or outside, and they are occupied with something, it's probably OK for a little while. I would probably rather have them outside where I could see them, but everyone is different. Naptime is a good time to do this, if at all possible.

Tracy - posted on 08/29/2013

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I always tell my 3 and 4 year olds that I am going out to mow and I put them down for their naps and once they are sleeping, I mow. They know right where I am because they can hear the mower if they wake up and need anything.

Teresa - posted on 11/25/2011

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I guess every parent has a differnt built-in monitor. When mine hits u unkown then I opt for the safe option. I would rather KNOW they are safe than leave it up to chance. At least then I have peace of mind. A lawn mower is LOUD. How can you hear what's gong on when the kids are inside. No i think not.

Morgan - posted on 11/25/2011

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No way!! I would be upset it only takes a second for a child to be hurt and youd never hear anything over a lawn mower!! I have run out to the curb with a garbage bag while my 22 month old is in the house alone but thats about as far as I can go!

Erin - posted on 11/25/2011

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I've always done it, from when my eldest was about 1 year old, they can always see me and I explain to them what I'm going out to do and they can watch mummy through the window. I make sure they are clean bummed and fed and put a movie on and have never had any problems. I close all the doors to other bedrooms, bathrooms cupboards etc and have never had anything go wrong or them hurt themselves, but I think they are used to it because I've done it from an early age. When I empty the catcher, i stick my head in the door to see if i can hear them and they are always where I left them! Trust them a little it may surprise you!

Erin - posted on 11/25/2011

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I've always left my kids inside while I mow the lawns, Have done since my eldest was about1 year old. I' explain to them I'm going outside to mow the grass and you can watch mummy through the windows, they can see me the whole time, and i can see them. I usually make sure they have clean bums, food in their bellies and a movie on and happy days!!! My kids are now 22 months and 3 years and have never once falled or hurt them selves

Ashley - posted on 11/25/2011

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I would wonder why he feels the need to mow the lawn while he is obviously alone the with kids? My husband waits till we are all home or we invite our family to take the kids if we have work that needs doing without distraction

Katherine - posted on 11/25/2011

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Nope. Three yo's can get into anything. That is very dangerous IMO. How can he be watching them if he's mowing the lawn????

Corinne - posted on 11/24/2011

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No way would I be happy about that. Could he not take them out with him so they're at least in sight? I have an area that the kids dig and plant seeds in, so while I mow, they get their digging stuff and get muddy. I know where they are and I can see them.

Jenni - posted on 11/24/2011

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I wouldn't do it. Is there any way he can cut the lawn while you're home? Or bring them out with him?
Do they nap still? Can he do it while they're napping and bring a baby monitor? (might not be able to hear it over the lawnmower but he can see it when it lights up). I just don't think it's worth the risk to mow the lawn. Maybe I'm bias because I have a 3 year old who likes to get into things when he knows no one is watching.

And he shuts the mower off every few minutes and restarts it?? :/

Momto3 - posted on 11/22/2011

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NOOOOOOOOO!! Three year olds? Geesh, my kids went through the "terrible 2's" at 3. They would be into everything, and no doubt get hurt. I would be fearful of them climbing in the bathtub, turning on the water! Too many safety issues even in a "baby-proof" house. The lawn can wait, watch the babies, please!!!!!!!

Danielle - posted on 08/23/2011

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Depends how long it takes I guess.
I'm a single parent and we live in a second floor apartment. I can't carry my two and half year old up and down the stairs every time I carry up a bag of shopping. When I do leave her, I tell her where I'm going (to the car) so she won't panic when she realises I'm not there. I'm back in under 5 minutes and she's never done anything she shouldn't.

Meredith - posted on 08/23/2011

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i think its fine. my son will be 3 in october and he knows the rules. no climbing no running no crazyness. i also have a few movies reserved for when i have to go back and forth between things. he loves these movies and is glued. im a realllllly relaxed mom though so i could be just me...

Brittany - posted on 08/21/2011

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i deffinately wouldnt, they could get into soo much. i have an almost 3 yr old. and when his father or i are outside doing yard work, hes outside with us. unless hes down for his afternoon nap.

Crystal - posted on 08/20/2011

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I even asked my husband and he said no. He may not realize how serious it is... some men have computer brains and don't get the what if part ... my husband just said 2 minutes is all it takes for brain damage ... if they choke on something or fall hard and loose oxygen to the brain they are done... i would say no to that... and put my foot down! I freak out running the trash out and I have a 9 and a 2 year old. I know the 9 year old would get me but if her earbuds are in or if she is watching tv.... what then??? I agree with you being concerned :)

Kelly - posted on 08/18/2011

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not when they are three that's too young to be left alone in the house while he mowes. alot could happen to three year olds in just a couple of seconds. kids that age get into way to much to be left alone out of eyesight that's just my opion though.

Leanne - posted on 08/18/2011

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I don't think it really matters what any of us say as we are not in your situation, we don't know what your house or your kids are like. talking about choking is a bit over the top for this topic. If your question was "should I let my 12 month old son play with marbles" then yeah, discuss the choking issue. I let my 3.5 year old play up in his room alone, should I be worried about him choking on his little power ranger figures? No, because I have taught him not to put stuff in his mouth! My brother choked on food until he was about 9. Does that mean he shouldn't have been left alone? Anyway.. Back to the topic.... When I cut the grass I bring my 3.5 year old and 2 year old outside with me. Although I can't hear them properly, I can see them most of the time. or, if the weather is good enough I do it at 7pm when they are in bed. If your not happy with your husband leaving them alone, then you need to discuss it with him. that is the only way to solve this issue. :)

Maggie - posted on 08/16/2011

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If the kids are well behaved or you know you can give them an activity that will keep their interest for the amount of time it takes to mow then it's fine. I've let my kids (5 and 3) play outside for hours while I do dishes or laundry. I know if I don't hear them then it's time to check.
Something *could* happen, but it likely won't. If he's checking on them every few minutes and they are happily occupied then there's no problem. Besides, it's good for them to have free play time. That's when kids get creative! If they get into a disagreement they will have some practice learning to compromise and figure things out for themselves. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.

Tiarna - posted on 08/15/2011

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i dont like leaving my 20 month old inside by himsle funless i can get his sister who is 5 to watch him and i only outside for not even 5-10 mins but i must say i have mowed the lawns once or twice when my duagther was a very young baby and she had just gone down for a nap but i was going in and cheacking her also but i still dont like doing it

Kim - posted on 08/13/2011

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Get the pack & play (or some type of contained area) and bring it outside for them to hang out in while he mows. The other day, both of my older children were out playing w/ friends so they weren't home to help and we had the 1-800-Got Junk ppl @ our house and my 2.5 yr old and 15 mo old were into EVERYTHING and in the way and clearly not okay to leave them alone inside nor safe to let them run around outside around the junk so I just plopped them in the porta crib w/ toys on the front porch so they could see what was going on and we could see them. Seemed to work!

Aimee - posted on 08/07/2011

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no its not ok cause they could be gettin into somethin they shouldnt be i know this as i had social services on me for doin the same thing they told me to take them out with me hope this helps

Bobbi Jo - posted on 08/07/2011

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If they are asleep and they were being checked on very frequently then i would be ok with the mowing. If they are awake i dont think he should be mowing. I think it would be ok to leave them in a safe room where they are not in a lot of dangers while u walk outside for a few minutes. My 2 year old twins do really well together and if my husband walks outside for a minute or two were not conccerned as long as the room they are in is clean and has only their things in it so they cant get in to lots of things and have risks, like electrical outlets or water.

Julie - posted on 08/07/2011

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I'd say better to do it while they nap or after bedtime. It almost sounds like more of a hassle / taking up extra time for him since he has to check on them every few minutes, and ditto, while the kids' behaviors can make a difference, curiosity can come into play, something can go wrong. My neice when around three just slipped walking off a foyer - wasn't even misbehaving. Could he have them outside? My husband does yardwork while they play with chalk on the driveway. Easier to check on them and they get some outside time.

Megan - posted on 08/06/2011

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This really depends on your children. If my 3 year old is alone, I know that I can turn on a movie for him and he will watch it. If he has his brothers with him, then no, I would not mow the lawn - it would be too much of a pita for me to keep stopping and running in to check on him. I would wait until he is in bed. I do go out to my garden while my little ones are napping -they are 3 and 20 months -the little one is in a crib so I know that he is safe, even if he wakes up. I take my baby monitor with me though so I know if they wake up. If I had 3 yo twins I don't think I'd leave them unsupervised in the house while I was outside very long.

Jennifer - posted on 07/29/2011

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Bad idea. Depending on the state in which you live, it is likely illegal to them them unattended for that length of time and in these circumstances too. I know it is hard to find time to do yard work, etc., but accidents and injuries happen just way too fast. Take it from someone who is involved in early childhood education and the social service system, this is just not worth the risk involved.

Jo - posted on 07/20/2011

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Personally, I think that mowing the lawn is an activity that is too far out of ear range and too takes to long to leave the kids inside. I have two sons, aged 3.5 and 1.5 (same birthday two years apart!) My eldest son has just started getting to the age where he wants to do some things apart from his little brother (who tends to mess everything up, my big boy is a bit of a perfectionist!) so I've just started letting him play with his cars or trains in his room with the door shut. However he usually comes back to talk to me every 5 mins or so anyway! I also would probably take a shower with the door open while they watch tv, and I do other related chores around the house. So if it was something quick like taking out the trash I would say ok, but I think that mowing the lawns is too long a job, and requires too much of your husband's attention, and the kids shouldn't be left alone like that.

Suzanne - posted on 07/20/2011

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I would want my husband to be there for my girls, I too have twins as well. I do understand that when they are alseep he can go and do whatever, however I think that when he is taking care of them, it is his chance to spend time with them. Not leave them to be unsupervised. If something happens I am sure I and he would never get over it. He needs to be supervising not away from the kids. Hands on not away.

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Not to mow the lawn. No way. What if they need something and go outside to get Daddy and he can't hear or see them until it's too late.....

It's not neccessarily about trusting them on their own for a bit, but for that length of time and w/ him so unavailable (I've stood right next to my ex while he was mowing and had to YELL repeatedly before he heard me).... not a good idea at all.

Carly - posted on 07/19/2011

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if they are asleep and he's got the monitor on him, then sure, mow the lawn. but no way if they are awake. like above posters, it's one thing to take out the trash or grab the mail but you can't leave toddlers alone like that.
whats the point of trying to mow the lawn when he is supposedly coming in every few minutes? i think he's lying on that one babe. he should wait for you to get home, just like all us moms have to do when it comes to some chores and errands. some things have to wait when you have kids and mowing the lawn is not as important as their safety.

Erika - posted on 07/19/2011

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I like Elfrieda's comment below, and I agree with many others that it depends on the child. Alone inside with the loud lawnmover going? Makes me a little nervous... However, I will take a 10-minute shower or put the baby down for nap (20 minutes) with my 4-year-old downstairs by herself. I usually set her up with a coloring book or movie, etc. Every time I am about to leave her alone, I review the rules with her (much to her dismay!) - i.e. don't go outside, don't open the door for anybody, come to me if you need help, etc. I am blessed to have a child who doesn't test the boundaries we have established too much, and is good at occupying herself. But it really does depend on the individual child! Have your husband take the kids outside with him like Elfrieda suggested!

Celia - posted on 07/19/2011

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i dont think thats a good idea. i have a 3 year old and even tho she is very intelligent it would only take a split second for something to go seriously wrong, and with the noise of the lawn mower he wouldnt hear them until he turns it off/ checks on them. the longest ill go outside and leave my kids inside is checking on the mail and i still leave the front door open!

Amy - posted on 07/18/2011

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Holly, the important question is if YOU think its OK, and if you're not comfortable with it then discuss with your hubby a time that he can mow and someone is there with them.

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I would never leave a small child alone in a house or anywhere for that matter, even if he checked on them every 5 minutes it only takes seconds for a terrible accident to happen

Brooke - posted on 07/18/2011

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I know my husbands left our daughter inside before and gone to tinker in the garage or water the yard. She's very content playing on her own and very independent, but I would rather have her within my eyesight. It only takes a second for something to go wrong! When we mow she comes outside with us. She plays on the front steps or in the garage where we can see her and keep on eye on her. She knows to stay clear of the lawn mower and she knows the dangers of it.

Elfrieda - posted on 07/18/2011

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I think it's maybe okay if they are really keen on watching tv and he pops in a video before going out, or if they are napping or stuck in a very safe part of the house. But it would be better to take them outside with him, and tell them the boundaries of where they are allowed to go (to keep them safe from the mower). Use some spraypaint to mark a boundary around the sandbox or something, so that they know to stay in there while he mows the lawn.

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Lucy I'm saying that 3 year olds don't have the understanding of the possibility of getting hurt that an adult would. They can't get on the phone and call for help. They rely on YOU to be there for them.

Crystal - posted on 07/18/2011

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Depends on the kids. I've seen some 3 year olds that get into everything and that's just their curious nature. My 3 year old isn't like that and will come find me and ask me if can do something.

I've never left my 3 year old in the house while I'm outside for an extended period of time doing something. Running out to my car to grab something I left there? Sure. To the garage to switch the clothes around? Absolutely. If I'm going to be outside doing something for more than a few minutes, I either bring him out there with me or if it can wait then I wait until my hubby is home.
I have had my 3 year old in the front yard with me with no fence while mowing the yard. He knows not to run into the street and knows not to touch the lawn equipment because we've taught him that. But then again, he's also never been a runner and some kids are. Again, it goes back to knowing your kids and whether or not something is appropriate for them. So if you don't think it's appropriate for your kids to be left unsupervised in the time it takes your hubby to mow the lawn, then you need to have a conversation with your hubby about that.

Lucy - posted on 07/17/2011

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im not at all doing that, all I was saying is that I am able to leave my 3 1/2 year olds as we have given them an open view on life and the freedom to explore they dont feel the need to wait until we leave the room to climb on a chair or get into trouble, they have no need to do it, you could say that about any child or an adult even, what if i climbed on a chair to reach something and fell? should I not be left alone?

Amanda - posted on 07/17/2011

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I have a 22 month old and a 9 month old. our house is proofed so that they can only b in the living room. the kitchen, and other rooms are blocked off. I can see doing so with older kids like yours if the house was safe. where they can b in one place. I have to take out the trash also sometimes. and I leave them in the living room. with yo gabba gabba on. their favorite show. it all depends on the circumstance. I although think he should wait till you are home or someone else maybe. there's just too many things kids can do even in a confined space. hitting eachother etc.

Heather - posted on 07/17/2011

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NO!!!! It is not ok!!!! I would be raising all hell. He should hire a babysitter.

Stifler's - posted on 07/16/2011

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I wouldn't really be comfortable with it. Mowing is pretty loud.

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