Our Founder

Janette Fennell

Janette Fennell, president and founder of KidsAndCars.org is recognized as the national leader for child safety as it relates to the dangers children face in and around motor vehicles with an in-depth specialty regarding events that take place off public roads and highways; most commonly referred to as nontraffic incidents.

Ms. Fennell has testified before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce for the “Auto Safety: Existing Mandates and Emerging Issues” hearing in Washington, DC on May 18, 2009; and has also testified before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection for the “Reauthorization of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration” in Washington, DC on June 23, 2005 regarding vehicular safety for children.

The Power of Survivor Advocacy: Making Car Trunks Escapable and Channeling Grief into Policy Change, Survivor Advocacy for Injury Prevention were publications both coauthored by Ms. Fennell.  She is regularly sought out to present at national conferences.

Ms. Fennell brings to the injury prevention field another valuable point of view. Her twenty years of experience in sales management, marketing and training while working for Eastman Kodak Company and Helene Curtis has been extremely valuable to bring a business perspective to the business of saving children’s lives.

As the leading expert in the nontraffic field, Ms. Fennell is sought out and often appears on national media platforms such as Good Morning America, Dateline NBC, OPRAH, NPR, the TODAY Show, the CBS Early Show, CNN, ABC Nightly News, Court TV, ABC-Primetime, The Learning Channel, MSNBC, Inside Edition, ABCNews.com, FOX, NBC Nightly News, Nancy Grace, Lifetime and numerous radio talk shows other programs.

The USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Public Citizen News, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Dallas Morning News, Chicago Tribune, Consumer Reports, San Jose Mercury News, Star Tribune, Times Herald Record, Kansas City Star and many other periodicals regularly call on Ms. Fennell for background information, statistics, emerging trends and initiatives about child safety for children involved in nontraffic incidents in and around motor vehicles.

Magazines such as People, Readers Digest, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Ladies Home Journal, Parents, Parenting and many others have written feature articles about Ms. Fennell’s tireless work to protect children.

Representatives/volunteers with KidsAndCars.org exhibit at safety fairs, schools and other community events in order to educate parents, caregivers and other safety professionals about these dangers. KidsAndCars.org also exhibits annually at the national safety conference on highway and auto safety, Lifesavers.

A few highlights about significant KidsAndCars.org’s accomplishments:

KidsAndCars.org brought national focus and attention to nontraffic incidents (incidents that occur off public roads and highways) which historically were ignored by government agencies. KidsAndCars.org is now recognized as the #1 authority about emerging and existing nontraffic incidents that injure and kill children.

  • All motor vehicles sold or leased in the United States (with a trunk) now have a glow-in-the-dark internal trunk release.  Due to the efforts of KidsAndCars.org (formerly TRUNC) vehicles beginning with model year 2002 have an emergency trunk release and the organization is not aware of any fatalities in the trunk of a car with this safety feature.
  • Dangerous rocker and toggle power window switches can no longer be installed on vehicles and are being replaced by the safer ‘pull up to close/push down to open’ switches effective October 1, 2010.
  • The first ever expert panel “Unattended Kids + Cars Expert Panel” in California was convened by KidsAndCars.org to study the undocumented public safety issue of children being left unattended in or around vehicles and developed a set of safety recommendations that are being implemented in the state of California and nationally.
  • Influenced the passage of laws in California (1/02), Illinois (8/03), Nevada (10/05), Tennessee (7/07), Oklahoma (5/08) and Hawaii (8/08) making it illegal to leave children alone in vehicles.
  • Partnered with Consumers Union (publisher of Consumer Reports) to bring attention to nontraffic dangers.  Consumers Union now measures the blind zone behind all vehicles they test and provide the information free of charge on their website.
  • Worked with the Missouri PTA towards the unanimous passage of the “Children Unattended in Vehicles” National resolution.
  • Heightened awareness about the dangers children face in and around vehicles via the media including, People Magazine, Consumer Reports, The TODAY Show, Good Morning America, OPRAH, CNN, USA Today, LA Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Readers Digest, Parenting Magazine, InjuryBoard Magazine, Ladies Home Journal, and the Kansas City Star just to name a few.
  • Thirty and 15 second Public Service Announcements (PSAs) air nationally to educate parents about the dangers children face in and
  • Established outreach programs to families who have lost children due to nontraffic incidents.  These efforts enabled survivors to tell their stories in advocating for safer vehicles.  Voices of the survivor advocates were key to the passage of the safety bill, “The Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act” which was signed by the president in 2008 (the ONLY transportation bill passed in the United States since 2005).
  • KidsAndCars.org supports over 200 volunteer community advocacy programs with education materials, research, and organizational support to raise awareness about nontraffic incidents.