Saving Lives

Saving Lives

KidsAndCars.org has been the catalyst for getting the entire transportation community to think not just about car crashes but the other ways in which children are injured or die in or around motor vehicles.

A national database was built by KAC detailing information about the circumstances surrounding deaths and injuries that take place in and around motor vehicles on private property (called nontraffic).  Before our initiative no one had ever collected data about this significant cause of injury and death. Without data, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) decided there wasn’t a problem.  KidsAndCars.org proved otherwise.

After over 10 years of collecting data, research, communications, educating the general public as well as policy makers, plodding along without accepting the “this can’t be done” attitude, this issue was brought to the attention of the highest ranks within the Department of Transportation and Congress by KidsAndCars.org.

Due to the efforts of KidsAndCars.org, NHTSA is now required to collect data for nontraffic incidents.  NHTSA’s first report issued in January of 2009 reports over 1,700 fatalities and over 840,000 injuries take place on private property every year.


As President Obama said in his recent State of the Union address, “we do big things.”  KidsAndCars.org is a small nonprofit; but we do REALLY big things.

We are a national nonprofit child safety organization dedicated to preventing injuries and death to children in or around motor vehicles.   KidsAndCars.org works to prevent these sudden tragic events through data collection, education and public awareness, policy change, regulations and survivor advocacy.

Below are a few examples of our successes.  Vehicles and children are safer today due to our passionate pursuit of protecting children in and around motor vehicles.

• KidsAndCars.org (KAC) changed the entire transportation data collection philosophy and structure in this country.  KAC is now recognized as the #1 authority about emerging and existing nontraffic incidents that injure or kill children.

• Internal trunk release mechanisms are now required in all vehicles with trunks.  There has not been one fatality in the trunk of a vehicle with this glow-in-dark release!

• Safer power window switches are now required on all vehicles. Passengers won’t inadvertently raise power windows that can strangle children or cut off fingers with 40-80 pounds of force.

• KidsAndCars.org was the force behind legislation requiring our government to set a rear visibility standard so we no longer have to back up blindly.  The new standard requires rearview camera systems to be installed on all passenger vehicles by 2014. 

• The fact that you cannot take your vehicle out-of-gear unless you have your foot on the brake pedal is due to KAC’s efforts.

• KidsAndCars.org Public Service Announcements (PSAs) air EVERY day to educate consumers about the dangers of leaving children alone in or around motor vehicles.

• Ms. Fennell, founder and president of KidsAndCars.org co-authored “The Power of Survivor Advocacy: Making Car Trunks Escapable,” which appeared in the Injury Prevention Journal, and the publication, “Channeling Grief into Policy Change,” which was a CDC funded project.  She has also testified before Congress twice on child transportation safety issues and is sought out by the media for information and interviews about nontraffic incidents.

• Data and background information provided by KAC was used as the basis for the Pulitzer Prize winning article, “Fatal Distraction.”   This riveting article brought the issue of children inadvertently being left behind in a vehicle to a new level of understanding.