A Utah couple who lost their toddler when she accidentally ran into their driveway is reminding people to “spot the dust” before entering or leaving their home.
Almost nine years ago, Chad and Jennifer Patterson lost their 2-year-old daughter, Natalie, after she was rear-ended in the driveway of their Evans home. Despite the car having a backup camera and sensors, the child went into a blind spot where he could not be found.
“We were planning to go to Disneyland and get ready for the day,” Chad Patterson said. “Our truck had multiple cameras and backup sensors and she was still covered by the blind spot. We’re sharing her story to help others. It keeps her name alive, and gives us a sense of purpose for doing what she’s doing. That is useful in its name.
The Spot the Tot program was developed by Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital in 2005 and has since been adopted by child safety advocates around the world. The program is designed to prevent motorists from accidentally backing up a child as they pass their home or approach an embankment.
“In the last decade, 60 children in Utah have been killed and 500 injured in these accidents,” said Dr. Nate Holman, an emergency medicine physician at Intermountain St. George Regional Hospital. on the way. “More than 1,500 children have died across the country in the last 30 years.”
Michelle Jamison, community health program manager at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, said children are unpredictable and have poor judgment of potential dangers around them.
“They don’t recognize boundaries like a yard, a street, a driveway, a sidewalk or a parking lot,” she said. “That’s why it’s especially important that drivers learn how to position the nose to avoid accidental rear-end collisions. Frontover is a new word we’re using. We often forget what’s in front of us. There are blind spots, but with cars this big, those blind spots can be up to 16 feet.
The experts at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital offer the following tips for spotting a tot:
- Walk all the way around the car before you get in to make sure the kids aren’t behind you.
- Turn off distractions including your cell phone and music.
- Roll down the windows and listen to the kids.
- Ask an adult to stay with the children while you pull out of the driveway to improve safety.
The hospital offers tote decals to be placed on the lower right corner of the driver’s side window. To get free, go primechildrens.org/safety.
“Tooth Place is a great way to prevent injuries and spread the word about safety,” said Jennifer Patterson. “It doesn’t have to stop there either. We can all be more proactive and evaluate what we can do differently to keep our communities safer for all children.