Worst Summer Jobs for Teenagers

Teen Summer Jobs to Avoid!

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 necessarily those summer jobs for teens that require polyester uniforms and unfashionable 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.

Dangerous Summer Jobs for Teens

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

  • 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 for those 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.
  • Construction and work at heights. Heavy machinery is a 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 lose your footing and falling 20 or 30 feet can be a real risk in these jobs.
  • 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.
  • Driver/Operator: forklift, tractors, ATVs. More driving, heavy equipment, little experience and limited supervision. Enough said.
  • Traveling sales crew. Avoid these like the plague. 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 rates are higher) and being assaulted or robbed. It's rife with abuse and corruption and is arguably a very real form of slavery. It's pretty much impossible to make any money and can be extremely difficult to be allowed to quit.

Worst Summer Jobs for Teenagers - More

There are other jobs that are dangerous that aren't on the National Consumers League list above of worst summer jobs for teenagers. But remember, those are just the top 5.

When considering a teen summer job, be aware of the factors 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. But a teen job needs to be safe as well.