Connecticut parents and grandparents learned the hard way to never have a child on a lawnmower.
A Columbia couple's son, Rocco Mongillo, accompanied his father, Jeff, to mow the lawn at his grandparents Berlin home on June 3.
"Jeff is in the seat and Rocco is in between his legs with an arm on each side so he can’t go anywhere and we thought he was safe," the 4-year-old's mother, Jennifer Mongillo, said.
The mother said it was a split second later when Rocco slipped from in between his father’s legs and arms. She said her son’s hand got caught under the lawnmower and the family rushed the little boy to the hospital.
But it was already too late: The injuries were so severe, the boy's hand and wrist had to be amputated.
Since the incident just three weeks ago, Rocco has had a total of five surgeries.
Rocco will need future surgeries and more physical therapy as he grows, but his doctors and family said something like this could’ve been prevented.
"It really is important to keep kids away from the lawnmower when you’re operating it. It’s very easy for young children to get behind you, without you even knowing it, because we know how noisy lawnmowers can be,” Dr. Brendan Campbell, director of pediatric trauma at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, said.
A warning on the lawnmower Rocco was on stated the lawnmower should not be operated around children.
But still, it’s a practice so many parents still do. The Mongillo family hopes others can learn from what happened to Rocco.
"If we could just prevent one kid from going through what Rocco went through and one family from going through what we went through then we’ve served a good purpose," Mongillo said.
Rocco is already in the process of received a prosthetic hand, which is expected to take at least four months.