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'Spot the Tot' to help keep kids safe

Posted at 9:56 AM, Jul 06, 2023

Driving comes as second nature to most of us, and it’s easy to forget our vehicles pose a real threat to people around us…especially children when the summer weather entices them to play outdoors.

But there are simple things you can do to 'Spot the Tot' and avoid a lifetime of heartache.

Michelle Jamison, Community Health Program Manager for Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, said blind spots surrounding cars and trucks are massive. In fact, you can’t see for at least 16 feet behind you in a typical vehicle.

Jamison said these blind spots aren’t just dangerous for children due to their size.

“Kids don't have good impulse control. They don't understand danger and boundaries, like sidewalks driveway, street parking lots. So that's why it's so important that adults understand how to spot the tot.”

Keep in mind that modern cars with a backup cameras and sensors may give you some extra protection, but they are not foolproof.

“Okay, so you're backing up, you're using your side mirror. You're using your backup camera. Susie here is still in a blind spot,” said Jamison.

Over the past decade, 60 children in Utah have have died in these types of accidents, with more than 500 being injured.

While modern cars have more safety features, we tend to drive big vehicles...SUV's, Trucks, and vans, with poor visibility...even in front.

Jamison said safety experts now talk as much about "frontovers" as “backovers,” so it’s important to follow three simple steps to help avoid disaster.

“So taking number one, that extra minute to walk all the way around the vehicle. Number two, eliminating distractions. So, putting down your cell phone, turning off that podcast, stopping those conversations in the backseat. And that third one just unrolling those windows so that you really can hear what's going on around you before you back up,” said Jamison.

Walk around the vehicle, eliminate distractions, and unroll the windows. And don't rely too much on those cameras and sensors. They can get covered, and kids love to run, so looking beyond the immediate area is crucial.

For more information to help keep your kids safe, visit primarychildrens.org/safety.