Toddler injured by stone shot up from a municipal lawnmower

Tyler Hertz. (Photo: Supplied)
Tyler Hertz. (Photo: Supplied)

The parents of Tyler Hertz (2) are still in shock after their son was injured in a freak accident over the weekend.

It happened in the blink of an eye, says Monique Hertz (24), Tyler’s mom. She’d been sitting in their bakkie outside her in-laws’ home in Polokwane, Limpopo on Saturday morning while her husband, Nick (37), was chatting to his parents at the gate. The next moment Nick, who was holding Tyler in his arms, was standing next to her window with a bloodied Tyler.

“I was so shocked I couldn’t understand what was happening. Everything happened so fast. He screamed we had to get Tyler to the hospital – he’d been hit by a stone,” Monique told YOU on Monday morning.

The couple say a worker from the Polokwane municipality had been mowing the grass with a tractor across the road when a stone shot up and hit Tyler on the forehead.

The boy sustained swelling on the brain and his sinuses were damaged. On Monday his right eye was still too swollen to determine any other damage and he was still in a lot of pain.

Monique says it was a day like any other. “My husband and I went around to my in-laws’ home in the Capricorn neighbourhood as he needed to get something from his parents. It was around 10.40am and I was waiting in the bakkie with our daughter.”

Tyler’s one-year-old sister was been sitting in her car stool waiting with Monique.

“I was checking to see if she was all right when my husband suddenly appeared at the window with Tyler. His whole face was covered in blood and he was dead quiet – he didn’t even cry. I think he was in shock.”

Nick was screaming for his dad, Pieter (70), and mom, Celia (68), to get Tyler to the hospital. Monique says she and her mom-in-law took Tyler to the nearest Redimed Clinic.

“I was crying the whole way. Tyler was still quiet and it looked like he was about to pass out. All I did the whole way was try to keep him conscious,” says Monique, adding that she doesn’t wish this journey on any parent.

Nick stayed behind to get the worker and his manager’s details. He also had a look at the lawnmower.

Nick says the lawnmower, which had been pulled by the tractor, had no protective covering to prevent stones from being shot up. There’d also been no warning signs to indicate that municipal workers were mowing the grass. He reported the matter that same day.

When Monique and Celia arrived with Tyler at the clinic a doctor examined the toddler and gave him a sedative. He referred them to the local provincial hospital for further treatment.

When Nick joined them at the hospital, Monique discovered that Nick had also been hit by a stone – on his right shoulder as he’d had his back to the lawnmower. But he wasn’t seriously injured.

“Tyler needed four stitches to his forehead. We had X-rays done and the radiologist insisted he be given a CT scan too – that showed swelling on the brain.”

They eventually got to take him home later that afternoon. She doesn’t know why he wasn’t admitted to hospital for overnight observation but she says they monitored him closely at home.

By Monday Tyler was still in a lot of pain and Monique says she was still struggling to process the event.

“I’m very unhappy. I blame myself – I keep telling myself I should’ve kept Tyler with me in die bakkie. I’m sad but my husband says I couldn’t have foreseen what was going to happen.”

She says she and Nick will be meeting with municipal officials before deciding whether they’ll be taking legal action.

Tyler Hertz

Thipa Selela, municipal spokesman, confirmed the incident to YOU and also that the Hertz couple met with the municipal manager.

“The incident report will be distributed to the relevant department for further investigation and to decide on a plan of action. The municipality is always cautious during these procedures to ensure there’s no injuries or damage to property.

“What happened here is sad and regrettable to happen to anyone or their child. The municipality will be working closely with the family during this emotional time,” Selela said.

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