2017 In the Rearview Mirror
Thank You to Our Supporters!
KidsAndCars.org has been gratified to receive financial support from so many incredible individuals throughout this year. Your donations have helped us significantly increase our impact on keeping children safe. A special thank you goes out to the Fennell family for matching all year-end donations totaling over $11,000!

With another big year ahead of us, we are very grateful for your dedication and passion for protecting our precious little ones. Below is a recap of some of the highlights in 2017 made possible only with the help of our amazing supporters. We simply could not do this work without YOU!
The HOT CARS Act of 2017 moved forward in Congress
The HOT CARS Act would require the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to issue a rule requiring vehicles to be equipped with a system to alert the driver if a passenger (child, vulnerable adult, disabled person or animal) remains in the back seat when a car is turned off.

Last year 43 U.S. children died in hot cars. Since 1990, more than 800 children have died from heatstroke in vehicles . This is unacceptable and 100% preventable. Because no one thinks this could happen to them, children will continue to die until we have reminder systems in vehicles to protect them. Our cars already have dozens of reminder alerts – for low fuel, headlights left on, engine issues, doors left ajar, low tire pressure, dead battery, etc. Why not a simple reminder that would save the life of a child?

Status Update about the HOT CARS Act:
The bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on June 7, 2017, and passed the full House on Sept. 6, 2017 as a part of the SELF-DRIVE Act of 2017. Another version of the HOT CARS Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate on July 31, and passed the Senate Commerce Committee in August as an amendment to the AV START Act.

We will continue to work for this life-saving legislation to be passed and signed into law this year.

First Ever Study Released on Nontraffic Injuries and Fatalities in Young Children
A new  Traffic Injury Prevention Journal study, co-authored by KidsAndCars.org, is entitled,  Unintentional Nontraffic* Injury and Fatal Events: Threats to Children In and Around Motor Vehicles . It describes the frequency of various nontraffic incidents, injuries and fatalities to children by utilizing our unique surveillance system and database.

This is the first study of its kind and identifies a diverse set of nontraffic incidents involving U.S. children. Examples of nontraffic events include children left in hot vehicles, backovers, frontovers, children inadvertently knocking vehicles into gear and power window incidents.

*“Nontraffic” refers to any vehicle-related incident that happens off of public roadways and highways, mainly in parking lots and driveways.
KidsAndCars.org and Center for Auto Safety Sue U.S. Department of Transportation
The life-saving benefits of seat belts are indisputable. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recognizes these benefits, reporting that 13,941 lives were saved in 2015 by seat belt usage.* 

A provision in the 2012 federal transportation bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), requires automobile manufacturers to install a seat belt reminder system for the front passenger and rear designated seating positions in all passenger vehicles. Seat belt reminder systems are currently only available in the front seat in most vehicles. The seat belt reminder system is intended to save lives by increasing seat belt usage.

The NHTSA was ordered by Congress to issue a standard to require rear seat belt reminders by October 2015. Yet more than 2 years after the deadline, they have not done so. There is absolutely no excuse for not issuing this life-saving standard.

Therefore, on Oct. 30, 2017, KidsAndCars.org and ​t​he Center for Auto Safety filed a petition for mandamus suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to compel the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to implement a law passed by Congress in 2012 requiring DOT to issue a standard requiring a rear seat safety belt warning system in all vehicles. Stay tuned.

* Source: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/seat-belts
Lifesavers Conference Included Screening of
TO THE MOON AND BACK documentary
KidsAndCars.org once again attended the annual Lifesavers National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities at the Charlotte NC Convention Center in 2017. As always, the KidsAndCars.org booth was a huge hit as we raised awareness about how to keep children safe in and around vehicles.

KidsAndCars.org also hosted a screening of the powerful documentary entitled TO THE MOON AND BACK which drew a crowd of more than 300 people.
TO THE MOON AND BACK is being shown at film festivals around the world. The film focuses on the story of Chase, a little boy adopted from Russia, whose father unknowingly left him in his vehicle causing his death from heatstroke. The film helps viewers understand the ramifications of what families go through after the most devastating event of their life – the loss of their beloved child. 
Blindzone Awareness Kit Program Expands in
Kansas & Missouri
Thanks to a very generous grant from State Farm, KidsAndCars.org launched the Blindzone Awareness Kit (BAK) program in the Greater Kansas City area in 2015, and has since expanded throughout Kansas and Missouri. The goal is to educate the public about the dangers of vehicle blindzones and what can be done to keep children (and adults) safe in and around vehicles. Each BAK comes complete with everything needed to do a hands-on blindzone demonstration utilizing any vehicle in addition to print materials, videos, charts, graphics, posters, etc. The kits can be used again and again to educate countless drivers.

KidsAndCars.org is providing BAKs to Kansas and Missouri companies and agencies that have employees driving in the community on a regular basis, such as utility companies, city public works departments, law enforcement, home-maintenance businesses, child passenger safety techs, parent education programs, etc. KidsAndCars.org has presented and performed blindzone demonstrations at employee safety training courses, and has trained supervisors to educate their teams, worked with local media and exhibited at local conferences.

For more information on the program, you may contact Amber@KidsAndCars.org
Look Before You Lock cards now available in English, Spanish & Mandarin Chinese
KidsAndCars.org’s ‘Look Before You Lock’ cards are now available in English , Spanish and Mandarin Chinese . The safety education cards are designed to educate parents at the very beginning of their child’s life about the dangers of children being unknowingly left behind or getting into vehicles on their own.

Thanks to the generous support of Toyota, KidsAndCars.org has provided over one million ‘Look Before You Lock’ parent education cards to more than 650 hospital birthing centers nationwide.

2018 Roadmap Report calls for additional State Highway Safety Laws 
The 2018 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws marks the 15th annual publication by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (“Advocates”). This report serves as a navigational tool giving guidance on successful measures to reduce preventable motor vehicle deaths, injuries and crash costs.

This year’s Roadmap Report identifies 407 state laws that are needed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Not a single state has all 16 of the optimal, lifesaving laws. The lack of basic traffic safety laws addressing occupant protection and child passenger safety as well as teen, impaired and distracted driving is contributing to our nation’s unacceptable death and injury toll.

What’s coming in 2018? 
KidsAndCars.org will continue to work toward passage of the HOT CARS Act of 2017 so that no more children, animals, elderly or vulnerable adults are left in hot cars. Get involved. Contact your U.S. members of Congress and ask for their support.

We will continue to pursue issuance of the final rule on rear seat belt reminders in all seating positions of all motor vehicles.
By May 1, 2018, ALL vehicles will FINALLY come with rearview cameras as standard equipment! This incredible step in making vehicles safer for children (and everyone) was only realized after over a decade of hard work by KidsAndCars.org advocates. It is thanks to these incredible and brave families and our amazing donors that this year we are celebrating a huge victory for the safety of children.

Lifesavers Conference Is Coming to San Antonio!
Come visit us at the Annual Lifesavers Conference April 22-24 in San Antonio, Texas.
This year there two sessions will cover nontraffic dangers:
  • “Forgetting Children in Cars: Why Does It Happen & How Can We Help Prevent It?” featuring memory specialist Dr. David Diamond
  • “Not in Traffic Crashes — Is the Data Telling the Correct Story?” featuring our founder and president Janette Fennell sharing the details about this 2017 study.

The KidsAndCars.org booth is always a big hit with lots of great giveaways and the best gift of all… the latest and greatest child vehicle safety information and materials. Of course, our cuddly stuffed animal friends Lucky and Chance will attend as well. You never know what else you might find at the KidsAndCars.org booth!  
In the news
Bill Introduced In Washington Aims To Prevent Hot Car Deaths

Forgetting a Child in a Back Seat Can Kill. Cars May Soon Warn You

Her daughter died after being left in a hot car. This North Charleston nurse wants to make sure it never happens again

Hot Car Deaths: Scientists Detail Why Parents Forget Their Children

Unlocking backseat heatstroke deaths

Dramatic Video Shows Kidnapped Woman Escaping Trunk of Captor's Car at Gas Station