In May of 2003, my husband was mowing the lawn with our riding mower when he put it in reverse. He heard a scream from my 4-year-old son Henry. He was horrified to learn that he had just backed over Henry, amputating half of his foot and severely cutting his left leg and thigh.
Henry had run up behind my husband to tell him something. He wasn’t afraid of approaching a lawn mower. His dad and grandfather used to give him tractor rides around the yard for fun. Essentially, we unknowingly taught him not to be afraid of a lawnmower.
Henry spent three weeks at Children’s Hospital and went through seven surgeries over the next couple of months. We are grateful for the excellent care he received and he’s made an exceptional recovery since then.
After Henry was hurt, we were surprised to learn he was just one of 10,000 American children injured in lawn mower accidents that year. Henry’s injury was not a freak accident. These injuries happen far too often and every single year, with dire consequences for our children.
Please talk to your children about the dangers of lawnmowers. Tell them that mowers are actually revolving knives and they should never, ever approach one when it’s running. Know where your kids are before you mow. The very best place for them to be while mowers are in operation is under supervision inside your house.
And please, never let your children ride on your lap when mowing. The dangers are very real . . . and very devastating. Henry learned that the hard way.
If you want to learn more, go to knowbeforeyoumow.org.
–Terri Burmester, Cedarburg, Wis.