SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — It is the leading cause of deaths when children are around cars — and it’s not being backed over.
The danger is the blind spot in the front of your vehicle. It’s something that’s not been widely talked about, and most don’t know about it until it’s too late.
2News enlisted the help of Primary Children’s Spot the Tot Program and set up a demonstration with Angie Ostler, a mother of five, behind the wheel, and her 3-year-old Alex in front of her SUV.
We slowly have Alex move back. At 6 feet away, Angie says she can see the top of Alex’s head, but it wouldn’t be obvious if she didn’t know what she was looking for. With Alex eight feet in front of her SUV, and while leaning forward and looking for him, Angie sees Alex’s eyes.
“Sitting back, it’s still very hard to see,” Ostler said.
All of that was with Alex standing up. Experts tell us most frontovers — when children are hurt or killed because a driver moving forward very slowly didn’t see them — happen when children are playing around the front area of a vehicle.
“If he were sitting down, I wouldn’t see him at all. There’s absolutely no way I would see him. That actually makes me have anxiety even talking about it,” Ostler said.
It’s a situation that became all too real for a Kearns family. In April 2015, Kendra Moad’s grandfather went to move his truck, not realizing 20-month-old Kendra followed him out. He didn’t see her in front of the vehicle and ran over her. Kendra was rushed to the hospital, but didn’t make it.
“We know from the data that over 70 percent of these accidents, it is either a family member or relative that’s driving the car,” said Jessica Strong, the community health manager at Primary Children’s Hospital.
We talk frequently about making sure you’re not backing over children when you’re coming out of your driveway or a parking spot, but it’s important to know that there are blind spots in the front, too — especially if it’s a high-profile vehicle.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says frontovers are responsible for 366 deaths a year and more than 15,000 injuries. Children are most often the victims.
In fact, the group kidsandcars.org says frontovers are responsible for 30% of fatalities in children 14 years old and younger when they’re around vehicles, even more than backovers. Utah has the sixth most frontovers in the country.
Strong said the best way to prevent frontovers is to walk around your car before you get in, put down your window, and listen for children or others in the area.
“There’s really no substitution for that human intervention,” she said.
Another important preventative measure is to avoid distractions.
“…so put down your cell phone, turn down the radio, avoid any of those distractions as you’re doing these seemingly simple but often dangerous tasks,” Strong said.
Some vehicles are now being equipped with front view cameras, but Strong says you can’t rely on them completely:
Unfortunately, sometimes it gives us a false sense of security. We think ‘oh, I have a backup camera, I don’t need to walk around my car,’ but that’s not true. We still see backovers and frontovers in vehicles that have that technology.”
Taking that extra minute to walk around and be aware is something experts and police agree could end up saving a life.
There’s more information on frontovers and backovers at: