MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — A report published by the non-profit news group FairWarning released new data showing about nine children are injured in riding lawn mower accidents each year.
The group said there have been 133 backover incidents with riding lawn mowers since 2004 based on the data they could track, but the group believes the numbers are likely larger.
Of those cases, eight victims were killed and other suffered amputations of fingers, toes, hands, feet and limbs.
Ireland Nugent’s accident in 2013 made national headlines. The Palm Harbor girl lost her lower legs after her father accidentally ran over her on his riding lawn mower.
John Brooks heard about the accident and started an advocacy group.
“I thought surely everyone is aware now that we have a child with missing limbs so it won’t happen again — it continued to happen,” said Brooks.
Brooks invented a sensor system for the machines in hopes the big manufacturers would take notice. His company is called Little Feet Safety Systems.
“We have to couple awareness with technology, the same way the auto industry has done with airbags,” said Brooks.
Brooks is fearful that more accidents will happen this summer unless safety changes are made.
“I unfortunately know there will be more accidents,” said Brooks.
Nugent now has new prosthetic legs and her family is hopeful.