Don't Mow With Kids

Readers write

September 01, 1991

From: Edward Hopkins

Bel Air

As an individual who is actively involved with public safety, I have concerns with the cover photo displayed on the July 28th edition of the Harford County Sun.

The picture displays a mother and son mowing grass while riding upon a medium size farm tractor. The mother is utilizing one hand for steering while the other is holding her sonon her lap. The child is not secured to the seat and the tractor is mowing on an incline.

The photographer succeeded in providing a photo that was aesthetically pleasing.

Unfortunately, the photo may reinforce to some that it is OK to operate machinery while allowing their children to ride with them.

All too often, fire, emergency medical services and police respond to residential and farm accidents where children have been injured after having fallen and (getting) entangled in the machinery or crushed under its wheels. These accidents can occur for any number of reasons but the end result is still the same: Had the child been riding in a secured manner, they would not have fallen or been injured.

I do not believe it was the newspaper'sintent to reinforce this practice and most likely citizens that havenever been exposed to farm accidents would not have given the photo a second thought.

I, on the other hand, have had the unpleasant experience of providing emergency care to children and adults who have been injured while doing exactly what the photo is depicting.

Please take the time to think before exposing children to dangerous situations. Explain to them that the machinery is not a toy but equipment that must be supervised by an adult.

If they must ride with you, fasten them securely.

The enjoyment they receive is not worth the risk of injury (or) a lifetime of living with a mistake that could have been avoided.

I would also add that persons responsible for selecting photos for print should be wary of dangerous situations that are often overshadowed by the pleasing value of the photo.

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