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 |  Jun 22 2011, 1:45 PM

KidsAndCars.org, an auto safety group, says it wants General Motors to recall specific vehicles from the 2000 and 2001 model years, following a spate of child deaths caused by suffocation.

A particular case is cited, where two young boys died in the trunk of a Chevy Malibu parked in a driveway in New Carlisle, Indiana. A similar case occurred five years ago when a five year old boy and his sister also died in the trunk of a Malibu, this time in Arkansas.

Federal law has required automakers to install internal trunk releases in all cars and trucks sold in the US from the 2002 model year, incorporating an illuminated handle so those trapped inside can easily see the release.

However, KidsandCars, which interestingly enough put pressure on regulators to make that law mandatory, now wants older cars to be retro-fitted. The group has also pushed for the use of mandatory back up cameras, citing their installation as as a useful tool in preventing children from being run over in driveways as cars are reversing.

In regards to the New Carlisle trunk death case, local police are still currently investigating the root cause, while GM is also taking an active role. The automaker says it will release a statement on the matter sometime in the next few days.

[Source: Wall Street Journal]

 |  Jun 08 2011, 1:07 PM

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Temperatures are on the rise and it’s important to remember the dangers of leaving children in a hot car. According to child safety organization Kids and Cars, since 1998 through to the end of May 2011, 500 children have died as a result of being unintentionally left in a hot car.

And even though public awareness of this issue is still high, it’s surprising to learn that in 2010, 49 children died from vehicular heat stroke – that’s the highest number of deaths in one year since data has been recorded. Perhaps it’s because all it takes is the slightest change in routine, a poor night’s sleep or a tough day at the office to set this tragic wheel in motion.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind during the summer to help keep kids safe:

•           Even if it’s only for a minute, never leave a child unattended in a vehicle.

•           When you unload your car, double check to make sure that everyone is out. And always use your key to lock the door – it will force you to look in the car before you leave it.

•           While away from your car, always lock it and keep keys and remotes away from children.

•           When a child is in the back seat, keep a stuffed animal in the front passenger seat as a reminder.

•           Put something important, such as a purse, cell phone of briefcase, in the backseat. That way, you’ll always have to check back there before you leave your car.

•           If you drop your child off at daycare, be sure to have them call you if your child does not show up.

•           If you see a child alone in a car on a warm day, call 911.

[Source: Consumer Reports]

 |  Jul 03 2010, 2:12 PM

With all the stories in the news and using a little common sense, you’d think that we’d be hearing less about kids being left in locked cars during the summer. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. New information shows that the number of infants and toddlers deaths from being left inside hot cars is higher through the first half of this year than at any time since the statistic was first tracked in the late 1990s.

This year alone, 18 children have died of hyperthermia, eight of them reported since June 13. Sadly, many of these cases involved children who climbed inside an unlocked vehicle on a hot day and then couldn’t get out.

This information was complied by Jan Null, an adjunct professor of meteorology at San Francisco State University, from data on the cases through media reports, which states that 37 children typically die each year from heat exhaustion in vehicles. The recent onslaught of deaths in June is disturbing, as July tends to be the most deadly month for children trapped in hot cars.

“These really are good parents who love these kids who make a mistake that turns out to be fatal,” said David Strickland, the administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The government’s highway safety agency issued a consumer advisory this week that included a warning for parents not to leave children unattended in or near a vehicle.

Although it may seem like common sense, it seems like adults need to be reminded to never leave their children in an unattended vehicle or allow kids to play in cars and trucks. Make it a habit to lock your vehicle doors once you park it, and keep your car keys in a safe place where little hands can’t reach them.

[Source: Kicking Tire]