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Worst Summer Jobs for Teenagers

What are the worst summer jobs for teenagers? According to the National Consumers League, it's those jobs for teens that pose the most physical risk...not those that require polyester uniforms and crazy hats.

A number of these summer jobs can also pay pretty well - and part of that is because they are not the safest jobs. It can be hard work and sometimes dangerous so more pay is required to get people to do the work. Many of these jobs for teens can be done safely to minimize the risk, but most of them are best left to adults who have more training and experience.

Drum roll, please...here are the worst summer jobs for teenagers.

  1. Agriculture/farming jobs. Many farm jobs are open to all ages - they don't have the limitations that other work does (see child labor information here). Some of these laws were developed without considering the heavy machinery that's doing the work and how dangerous it can be if you are not properly trained to use it. Plus, the nature of farm work doesn't provide for much supervision - workers are typically in crews of 2 or 3 and those can be all teens.

  2. Construction and work at heights. Heavy machinery is factor in these summer jobs as well. Combine that with working at heights - where either you or the equipment may be unstable - and there is an accident waiting to happen. It's easy to loose your footing and falling 20 or 30 feet can be a real risk in these jobs.

  3. Outside work: landscaping, groundskeeping and lawn service. Mowing lawns is one of the most common summer jobs for teens. But lawn services step that up a notch. As a result, teens are more likely to be using heavier equipment and power tools that they may not have been adequately trained to use.

  4. Driver/Operator: forklift, tractors, ATVs. More driving, heavy equipment, little experience and limited supervision. Enough said.

  5. Traveling sales crew. These summer jobs typically have groups of youths or teens traveling to different states and selling magazines or candy door to door. The risks here include driving with other teens (whose accident rate is higher) and being assaulted or robbed.

There are other jobs that are dangerous that aren't on this list of worst summer jobs for teenagers - remember, these are just the top 5. As you consider a job, look for these things that can increase the risk of being injured or hurt:

  • Does it involve working with machinery, especially heavy equipment? Large machines, even when well-operated, pose greater risks.
  • Does it require driving? Even licensed and experienced drivers have accidents while the average accident rate for teens is much greater than that of adults.
  • Does it require travel away from home and/or door-to-door sales? Maybe unfortunately, times have changed and going door to door isn't what it used to be. Even school fundraisers and Girl Scouts are discouraged from going door to door in their own neighborhoods without their parents accompanying them.

Earning money can be fun and provide many great learning opportunities - whether you are working for yourself or someone else. It just needs to be safe as well. Make safety a part of how you evaluate summer jobs for teens, and you'll be more likely to find one that works for you!

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