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Frontover deaths involving kids skyrocketing with truck and SUV popularity

Angie Koehle
RoadsLet Joe Know
Car in front of house
PHOENIX - Federal law now requires all new cars sold in the US to come equipped with rear cameras and screens. It's to prevent backover crashes, many times involving small children. The recent change is a huge victory for child safety advocates, but this doesn't solve another problem happening at an alarming rate: frontover crashes. It's a crash that happens when you can't see what's in front of your parked vehicle. With the rising popularity of big SUVs and trucks, the chances of these incidents happening have increased. We wanted to see just how blind we are to these blind spots. Courtney Nelson knows all about child safety.  She has to be as owner of Wiggles and Giggles Little Learner's Center in Peoria, plus she has four children of her own. She agreed to help us, along with her 3-year-old son Easton. Easton is pretty tall for his age, about 40 inches. But as we found out, height is relative. With a tape measure, we measured the distance it took before we could see Easton standing in front of a full-sized truck. It took him walking up about to about four and a half feet before Nelson could even see the very top of his head from the driver's seat. "I was looking for him but if you weren't looking down at that angle it would be hard to notice," Nelson said. "Especially if you were in a hurry and trying to get somewhere." At what point was he visible? "When it got closer to eight and ten feet, I could see his ears, and that's when I could say I could definitely see him," she said. According to, 24 kids in the US died in frontover incidents between 1996 and 2000. Between 2006 and 2010, that number skyrocketed to 358. We saw the tragedy here in the Valley last year when former Arizona Cardinal Todd Heap accidentally struck and killed his 3-year-old daughter Holly. "The most common scenario (we see) and we've named it is called bye-bye syndrome," said Amber Rollins from Rollins said children often run out to the driveway to wave bye and drivers don't see them. "We cant see over the hood like we used to be able to. And with the increase in popularity with big trucks and SUVs and we see a lot of people raising them and putting big tires on them, all of that stuff increases the blind zones," Rollins said. How do you make sure this doesn't happen to you? Advocates recommend you do one quick walk around your vehicle to make sure there is nothing or no one in front of it. For more tips on how to prevent this type of tragedy, click here.
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