Dad’s Heartbreaking Warning: 4-Year-Old Lost A Leg After A Horrific Lawnmower Accident. Now, His Family Is Working To Keep Other Children Out Of Harm's Way

June 14, 2018

Lawn mowing can be fun, both for adults and their children. But the fun can quickly turn into horror if a parent who is doing the job loses sight of his child and runs him over. According to Enabling The Future, every year in the United States, 800 children are run over by riding mowers. 600 of these accidents end in amputations. Every year, 75 people die in lawnmower-related accidents in the U.S.

The Bainters learned the hard way how a piece of gardening hardware can change a child’s life in an instant.

READ ALSO: 5-Year-Old Cheerleader Girl Loses Foot After A Tragic Incident With A Lawn Mower

In 2004, Brett Bainter came home from work and started mowing the lawn, and his 4-year-old son, Jake, was somewhere outside, riding his bike. Brett was reversing the mower when he suddenly bumped into something. The father had no idea his son had been following him. Brett turned around and realized he ran over his son’s leg. Here’s how the man described that moment to PEOPLE:

That haunts me still. I looked down, and his upper torso was coming out of the mower deck. I lifted the mower off of him and I scooped him up, and I had him in my arms. I was screaming more than he was. But he was screaming a lot.

After the unfortunate accident, Jake spent four weeks in the hospital. Over the following four years, he had more than a dozen surgeries to save his leg. At age 9, the boy still had the leg, but it wasn’t functioning. That’s when he, his parents, and his doctors made the hard decision to amputate the limb.

READ ALSO: 7-Year-Old Boy Had His Leg Amputated After A Van Hit-And-Run Accident

Before that, a chance encounter helped his parents and Jake himself solidify their belief that the decision was right. During a ride to the hospital, Jake noticed a biker with a prosthetic leg. The family stopped to talk to the man, as they wanted to know what it would be like for their son to live without a limb. Bill Hansbury, the sympathetic biker who was 71 at the time, had had to undergo amputation due to MRSA infection just a year before the fateful encounter.

Bill told Jake:

If I can do it, you can. You’re seven, and I’m 10 times older than you. If I can do it, boy, you can fly.

Today, Jake Bainter is 18. He can do pretty much everything other guys his age do. He enjoys fishing and hunting, and likes math and biology. The young man is planning to study at the University of Florida.

In 2015, Jake’ mother, Jodi, started a foundation called Limbs Matter. Its goal is to promote lawnmower safety and help families whose children were injured in lawnmower-related accidents. Limbs Matter created a heartbreaking PSA, and every parent should watch it:

One single measure can keep your children safe: making them stay indoors while an adult is mowing the lawn.

Source: Enabling The Future, PEOPLE, Limbs Matter

READ ALSO: Lauren Wasser Lost Her Two Legs Because Of Tampon And Now Warns Other Women To Be Cautious

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