Warning: This post is about preventing one of the worst accidents a parent could imagine.
It’s a sunny Saturday morning. You have lots to do. Mowing the lawn is first on the list. If you’re fast enough, maybe you can beat the coming rain, get the grass cut and move on to your other to-dos. Lucky for you, your significant other volunteered to take the kids grocery shopping so you can focus on the task at hand.
Because you’re in such a hurry, you have deactivated your riding lawnmower’s backup-safety mode. Normally, the blades stop spinning when you go in reverse. But by disabling that feature, you can mow faster, since you don’t have to stop and start the blades all the time when mowing around obstacles like trees or making tight turns. Things are going well.
乐动体育Then, as you back up to take another pass at the tree next to your driveway, your tire goes over a bump, and your life changes forever.
乐动体育In your haste, you forgot to look behind you when backing up. Unbeknownst to you, your significant other also forgot something and came back home before heading to the store. One of your kids jumped out of the car and ran up to you on the mower to say hi, forgetting that they know not to do this. Now, below the deck lies your child, trapped under your lawnmower’s spinning blades.
乐动体育Dozens of painful surgeries lay ahead — if your child survives.
I’m not trying to here. This type of thing happens. Riding-lawnmower backup accidents killed or maimed more than 1,500 kids from 1994 to 2014, . There is no shortage of new reports on such accidents across the U.S.
In fact, nearly . The main difference is that when he accidentally backed over his 3-year-old boy, he was looking behind him. He was looking over his right shoulder, but when his boy came running up to see him, he was coming from the left side. And you’ll find plenty more firsthand stories from the survivors of such tragedies at .
These stats and stories made me wonder: What if we had backup cameras on our riding lawnmowers?
乐动体育Today’s aftermarket backup cameras are cheap. Amazon sells one such camera-and-monitor kit for $40. They’re also easy to install. If you have a 12-volt port (aka a cigarette lighter port) on your mower, it’s virtually a plug-and-play affair. If you don’t, it’s not hard to add one. But even if you’re too intimidated to try, the process is simple enough that most mower shops should be willing to install the whole setup for you.
乐动体育You can see my own experience with the installation process in the video above. All the parts are available on Amazon. So far, it has worked wonderfully. Now I can keep an eye on what’s going on behind me at all times, not just when I turn around.
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乐动体育No, a lawnmower backup camera won’t magically prevent all accidents. We still have to be careful and look behind ourselves when reversing. Remember that powered lawnmowers are basically machete-spinning robots, and the riding versions just add speed to the equation.
But I’d gladly give up the time and money I spent on this again for the chance to prevent such an accident. It’s one thing to injure ourselves when doing work. We all accept a certain amount of risk when doing projects, whether that involves climbing a ladder or ripping a board on a table saw. But harm coming to children is a different kind of horror. It’s well documented that when kids experience trauma, whether from physical injury or mental abuse, it has a lasting effect on their entire lives. These ripples are bad for the kid, bad for surviving family members, and bad for society.
Not to be an old grump here, but it already feels like enough of a waste to be burning all this gas and time to just repeatedly cut the grass over and over again like Sisyphus for the rest of eternity. I certainly don’t want to sacrifice my own 3-year-old’s future, too.
Wisconsinite writes and shoots video about whatever DIY project is holding his attention at the time. For more, follow him on , find him on , or subscribe to his channel on
Supplies used in this video
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(Works great, but not cheap. Can use duct tape instead)
. (Very strong stuff, be careful with it. Best to test with a weaker tape first, then use VHB for final install.)
They said it couldn't be saved. He tries anyway.