Spot the Tot Test Yields Surprising Results - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Spot the Tot Test Yields Surprising Results

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Back-up cameras have been in the headlines for the past few days. Safety groups are suing the federal government to get them in every car. And a coordinator at one local group says a simple test can drive that point home, and make you more aware about what's around your car without using a camera.

It's called "Spot the Tot", and here's how it works. You sit in your car or truck and organizers move a child, or in this case a cone representing a child. They start at two feet, then go back to four and six, continuing until you can see it in your side or rear view mirrors. And how long that takes may surprise you.

It's a test Keene Hart, with Quad Cities Safe Kids, says he's seen dozens of times. And from the first, "I was like, in awe. I was like I cannot believe you go that far back before you see a child."

Moline firefighters who were talking car safety took the test for us. As you'd imagine, not being able to see a child or our cone directly behind a bumper. But also not at four feet, or six, or even 10. Hart asks Angela Diederich, in her car, "Still can't see it in any of your mirrors?" She says no, and he moves it back to 12 feet. But Diederich still can't see it. Not even when Hart almost doubles the distance.

In fact, it takes another three feet, the cone at 25 feet, before it's visible. And even then Diederich says it's only in her rear view, not her side mirrors. "I just kept thinking, wow, it's getting really far back there," she tells us.

So we tried it again. How far back would we have to go with a truck that sits up much higher? And as you might expect, the cone was not visible at ten feet. So Hart moved it back, then moved it back again. Finally Chris Kendall says he sees it, at 34 feet back.

"That is far, that's amazing," he says. He tells us, in his truck, "The headrest is right in the middle, so you can't, when you're looking in the rear view mirror, you can't see directly behind you." He says the cone behind him is "far away. I mean, that's the length of a driveway at least, you know."

But we wanted to know how different the results would be with a back-up camera. And they were very different. As soon as Hart moves into position behind the truck, not only can Kendall see the cone, we can all hear it. Over the beeping Kendall explains, "The closer you are, the faster it beeps, until finally when it's so close, it's solid." He says making it virtually impossible for anyone to make a devastating mistake.

Kendall's truck came equipped with a back-up camera, helpful he says when it comes to his trailer hitch and towing. And with a baby on the way, "I wouldn't want another vehicle without one."

Safety groups say with or without a backup camera in your car, make a 360 degree check. Walk all the way around your car before you get in and drive off. And they say, you can also use a sticker like the one they give out to catch your attention. That will ensure you catch any children, or anything else like a bike, that might be behind your car when you least expect it.

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