SUMMER NEWSLETTER

Awareness is good. Action is better.

Kids and Car Safety Data Collection               

So far in 2023, Kids and Car Safety (KACS) has documented 1,255 nontraffic incidents that would otherwise not have been compiled anywhere else. These cases include backovers, frontovers, hot car incidents, vehicle submersions, cars stolen with children alone in the back seat and much more. Of those cases, documented 34% were fatal and 66% were nonfatal cases.


This data is the backbone of the work KACS has done for the last 28 years and has allowed us to make major improvements to the safety of vehicles for children, all road users and pedestrians. Thanks to our data and hard work, ALL vehicles now come with a rearview camera, trunk release, safer power window switches and soon hot car technology to name a few.


Please consider becoming a monthly donor to help us continue documenting these cases and identifying emerging trends so we can continue to save children’s lives.

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Cars Stolen with Children Alone Inside

Last year, KACS documented nearly 300 children who were left alone inside a vehicle that was stolen. Already this year, we have documented at least 119. It is important to note that these are only the incidents that we’ve been able to uncover through media reports. KACS is the only group that is tracking these cases nationwide. 


Contrary to what many might believe, children taken during a car theft is not a rare occurrence. And, it happens in even the safest of neighborhoods. Cars are often stolen from gas stations and even home driveways. Because these are completely preventable incidents, they are a major misuse of law enforcement’s precious resources. One estimate shows that $71,000 was used for an AMBER ALERT search in a car theft related kidnapping. These can be easily avoided if children are never left alone in vehicles. LEARN MORE


If you learn about a car theft with children involved, please email us at Amber@KidsAndCars.org so we can be sure to document it.

The Safe Kids Champion for Children Award

Kids and Car Safety was proud to accept the Safe Kids Champion for Children Award, which recognizes an individual, business, government agency, or organization that has made a significant impact in the field of child injury prevention. This year Kids and Car Safety and our amazing friends at Love Like Jace were recognized and we couldn’t be more grateful for our amazing partnership with Safe Kids. LEARN MORE

Car Seat Technician Online Learning Course: Beyond Car Seat Safety

Kids and Car Safety is offering a brand new interactive online learning course designed specifically for car seat technicians and instructors. To date, over 430 car seat technicians have completed the course for community education credit. The course educates car seat technicians and instructors about little-known dangers to children in and around cars that even seasoned safety professionals might not be aware of. The program will provide you with background on a wide variety of topics as well as practical tips you can share with families. You will also learn hands-on, visual safety demonstrations you can do in your community. This course will count towards your community education requirements for recertification. LEARN MORE

NEW Safety Standard Requiring Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) & Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking (PAEB) Systems

PASSENGER VEHICLES

On May 31, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed a rule that would require automatic emergency braking (AEB) and Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking (PAEB) systems in all new passenger vehicles and light trucks. The safety systems will mitigate the frequency and severity of rear-end crashes and pedestrian crashes. An AEB system uses multiple sensor technologies that automatically applies the brakes if the driver has not done so, or, if needed, applies more braking force to supplement the driver’s braking.

HEAVY VEHICLES

On June 22, the NHTSA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would require heavy vehicles to have AEB systems. Once implemented, NHTSA estimates the proposed rule will prevent 19,118 crashes, save 155 lives, and prevent 8,814 injuries annually according to NHTSA’s conservative estimates. The proposed rule defines “heavy vehicles” as those having a gross vehicle weight greater than 10,000 pounds, such as heavy-duty trucks and buses.

The NPRMs are currently in the regulatory process and NHTSA is calling for comments from the public. For more information on submitting comments click here for passenger vehicles and click here for heavy duty vehicles.

Elijah Mercer Awarded the Jack Larson Data for Good Fellowship

Kids and Car Safety’s very own, Elijah Mercer (Masters of Information and Data Science ’25) has been awarded the Spring 2023 Jack Larson Data for Good Fellowship for his work involving the use of data science to support the interests of marginalized groups and communities, and for active and sustained community service. 


We are incredibly proud to have Elijah as a part of our team. LEARN MORE

A tribute to our dearest friend and colleague, Allison Kennedy

Allison Kennedy, our dearest friend and colleague, died May 10, 2023, after recently suffering a brain aneurysm. Allison was the Director of Government Relations for Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) and her remarkable advocacy has made this world a safer place for all of us. She will be remembered as a dedicated public health and safety activist, wonderful colleague, caring friend, cherished daughter, devoted wife and dedicated mother. Allison was extraordinary beyond measure and will be eternally missed.


A beautiful tribute to Allison written by our friends at Advocates

Contribute to the education fund for Allison’s children Kit (2 years) and Cal (3 months)

Conferences and Events

Kids and Car Safety (KACS) has been attending the Lifesavers National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities for decades and this year was another successful conference helping bring awareness to nontraffic dangers to children and others. Workshops presented by KACS include;

Heatstroke: Why It Happens & Potential Technology Solutions

Putting Vision in Focus to Protect Pedestrians, Bicyclists and Micromobilists

This year we had a blast at the Safe Kids Worldwide Childhood Injury Prevention Convention (PrevCon), one of the largest gatherings of safety professionals in the world dedicated solely to the field of childhood injury prevention. It brings together leading experts, advocates, academics, and partners to share best practices and experiences with the aim of increasing our collective impact. This is an incredible group of passionate advocates that we were thrilled to be a part of. We were even one of the final winners of the 80s costume and dance off contest!

We were thrilled to be joined by the amazing ladies at Love for Jace, a group organized by Makia Wallace, after the loss of her precious son in a hot car tragedy. Thank you Makia and family for your inspiring dedication to honoring Jace and keeping children safe.

Janette Fennell (President & Founder) and Amber Rollins (Director) were proud finalists at the Safe Kids 35th anniversary costume and dance competition. Totally rad!

Kids and Car Safety’s Programs Manager, Nancy Chamberlain has been busy traveling throughout Kansas and Missouri to educate early childhood parent educators about nontraffic dangers. Ms. Chamberlain has conducted at least six educational sessions for educators including some eye-opening demonstrations on how to break a window to rescue a child trapped in a hot car. Thank you to Parents as Teachers for helping spread these safety messages and a special thank you to State Farm for supporting our Childproof Your Ride program.

May 1st was another successful National Heatstroke Prevention Day. Grieving families, members of Congress, Kids and Car Safety, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, and memory science expert Dr. David Diamond joined together for a national virtual press conference to call for the “hot cars” provision enacted in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA, Pub. L. 117-58) to be advanced quickly and to ensure effective detection and alert technology is mandated. Read the press release below.


Hot Car Regulation Needed ASAP, Enough is Enough – 5/1/23

Harrowing Journey of Losing a Child in a Hot Car Tragedy Recounted in Mother’s Memoire: THE GIFT OF BEN

On a hot, New England summer day in 2014, tragedy befell Lindsey Rogers-Seitz and her family when her husband, Kyle Seitz, inadvertently left their 15-month-old son, Benjamin, in the back seat of his car all day where he passed away from the heat. The harrowing and tragic story made national news at the time, but for Lindsey and her family, it was the beginning of a long and unending nightmare. LEARN MORE

In the news….

Bill aims to reduce 'frontover' crashes in which children are disproportionately the victims (WRAL, 8/2/23)


Suffer the Little Children Podcast with Janette Fennell on Hot Cars (July 21, 2023)


Hot car deaths can be prevented with this new technology (CNN, June 29, 2023)

 

Hot car death season in the US is underway. What can be done to save children? (USA TODAY, May 19, 2023)


Safety advocates push feds, automakers to do more to prevent hot car deaths (Detroit Free Press, May 18, 2023)

 

Virginia mom fights for change after toddler’s hot car death (Fox Weather, May 2, 2023)


Carjackers Steal More Cars — Many With Kids Still Inside (Patch, Feb 28, 2023)


READ MORE HERE

John Cockerill Foundation Gift in Honor of Anderson & Aaron Beck

A huge thank you goes out to the John Cockerill Foundation for a very generous donation of $5,000 in honor of Anderson and Aaron Beck. Last summer, during a change in routine, Aaron Beck inadvertently left his beloved son, Anderson in his vehicle while he went to work. Upon discovering Anderson in his vehicle, Aaron’s heartache caused him to take his own life. That day, Laura Beck lost her son and her soulmate. It is an honor for KACS to be able to work in honor of Anderson and Aaron as well as the many other families that we work with.


Make a donation in honor of the Beck family

NEW Video PSAS!

Thanks to a generous grant from our friends at State Farm Insurance, Kids and Car Safety has produced a series of 10 new video PSAs to help raise awareness about hot car tragedies, driveway and parking lot safety, car theft with children inside and carbon monoxide poisoning. Below are a few of the new videos. View all of our PSA videos and more at our YouTube channel HERE

Education Materials

Thank you to our sponsors who make it possible for us to continue the important work of saving the lives of children and pets all year long. We are eternally grateful for your unwavering support.

 

American Home Safety Products, AsahiKASEI, Buckle Up for Life, CleverElly, Dana James Family Foundation, Doona SensAlert, Florin Roebig Car Crash Attorneys, Freer Logic, Ride & Remind, Safe Ride 4 Kids, State Farm, TEGO Automotive Products, Inc., Toyota, Vayyar, Venturi LLC, VOXX Automotive.


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