WASHINGTON (AP) _ Barbara Bush urged parents Wednesday to restrict their children's viewing of television footage from the Persian Gulf war, saying she knows from her own grandchildren that ''it's very scary'' for them.

''Parents should monitor their children and just be sure that they're understanding what they're seeing so they're not getting terrible nightmares,'' the first lady told reporters at the White House.

''It's a very different war,'' she said. ''Everybody knows about this.''

She said she had assured her young grandchildren after they saw pictures of the Iraqi bombing of Tel Aviv that it was not ''in their backyard'' or a threat to their own lives.

Mrs. Bush spoke with reporters after appealing for all women to get yearly mammograms to check for breast cancer.

It was her first comment on the war and her first public appearance since she suffered a leg fracture Jan. 13 while sledding at Camp David with the president and their grandchildren. She walked with an African cane.

Watching the war scenes on television over the weekend aroused her concern about the war's impact on America's children.

''My kids aren't different than anyone else's. I just think you ought to be careful of your children,'' she said.

''It's very scary for (children),'' she said. Parents ''ought to be very careful what they see on television.''

How did she explain it to her grandchildren?

''We just talked about it, the things we were looking at. I didn't tell them more than they wanted to know. I just told them what we were seeing,'' she said.

She said she told them ''first of all, it wasn't in their backyard.'' But she said she also explained the conflict is ''very important. It's their people.''

''When they saw the bombings coming on Tel Aviv and they thought, 'Gee 3/8' They were saying, 'Daddy 3/8 Daddy 3/8''' she said.

''When they asked questions, I would say, 'Well, that's way away,''' she said. ''I answered (their questions). They were little kids, so they didn't ask too many.''

Mrs. Bush spent last weekend at Camp David with four of her dozen grandchildren: Sam LeBlond, 6, and his sister Ellie, 4, and Marshall Bush, 4, and her brother, Charles Walker, 1.

Asked what the president told the children, she replied, ''The president wasn't there at the time.''

How is Bush taking the war?

''He's wonderful. He's steady and stable and calm. He's on the phone a lot of the time. He's like anybody else. Every single one of those soldiers are his,'' she said.

Mrs. Bush said she felt more ''attuned to the mothers'' of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines now in the gulf than to the thought of her grandchildren going to war. Her oldest grandson is 14.

''I called a mother yesterday whose son had written me,'' she said.

Asked if the president had any regrets about going to war, she said firmly, ''No, he did what he knew was right.''

Her thoughts on the U.S. servicewomen serving in the combat zone?

''It's sad. I mean, war is not nice,'' said the first lady.