Palm Harbor, Florida-- The parents of a three-year-old girl whose legs were run over with a lawn mower are on a mission to educate the state.
"I don't want Ireland's accident to be in vain," said Nicole Nugent, Ireland's mother.
Jerry Nugent, Ireland's father, and Nicole have sent a request for a proclamation to Governor Rick Scott asking him to declare March as "Mower Safety Awareness Month."
"I always thought I was an informed mother, I worked at a pre-school with lots of children for 11 years," said Nicole. "But a year ago, I did not know lawn mower accidents were so dangerous or had safety features. I would not have even flinched at the idea of a child sitting on someone lap while they drive the mower, but now I would never allow that."
She wishes she had known then on April 10th, 2013 what she knows now.
"I feel like it has become my job to inform other parents about lawn mower safety and safety features," said Nicole.
She said the two biggest safety features people need to check for and not tamper with are:
- When put in reverse, the mower's blades should stop moving.
- When the driver gets off the seat, the mower stops.
Nicole said she had hundreds of people writing her through email and Facebook, Ireland's Facebook page, saying they were run over by a lawn mower, or their child was, or their neighbor was. One 18-month little boy was killed.
"Once I kept hearing those stories, after stories, I was like 'Ireland was not a rare case then'," said Nicole. "'This is happening a lot more than I think, then I have ever known'."
Now she and her husband Jerry want it known to every parent.
"Somebody somewhere has got to stand up and say 'something has to change'," said Nicole. "I think it's my job- now that Ireland has had this predicament- to let other parents know that there are real dangers from your home lawn mowing equipment."
She said March is the month they would prefer to have as Mower Awareness because that is the beginning of Spring when people begin cutting their lawns again.
"This is the time they need to be getting them checked to see that they are working properly," said Nicole. "Even if the governor does not declare March as Mower Awareness Month, maybe someone will hear what we are trying to do and say to themselves, 'I am going to go read up about my mower and see what its safety features are,'. That is all I want- people to listen and take action with their own family. "
More stories about Ireland Nugent's accident and recovery:
Earlier surgery:Girl hurt in lawnmower accident undergoes surgery
Care for life:Toddler hurt in mower accident to get care for life
Second surgery:Ireland Nugent needs second surgery
Full of smiles:Ireland Nugent out of pediatric ICU
Fundraising:Church raises $110,000 for medical care
Back to School:Ireland Nugent returns to preschool
Prosthetic fitting:Ireland Nugent fitted for new feet
First Steps!Ireland Nugent walks again on prosthetic limbs
Amazing Progress:Ireland Nugent continues recovery
A Happy Birthday:Ireland turns 3 years old