Sisters of Invention enjoyed the interaction at the 12th Annual Saint Joseph East Maternity Fair.
Do You Want to Help?
Many e-mails and calls from people like you who are concerned with child safety, motivate Sisters of Invention to continue working toward getting the HALO Baby Seat Safety System to the market. Hopefully it will provide assistance in averting the potential tragic consequences of a child being left in a car. Often we are asked, “What can I do for now? We’d like to encourage you to support the heroic efforts of non-profit organizations who work diligently to educate the public, and to push government and industry to implement measures that will protect our children.
Every day, children are left unattended in or around vehicles-a danger most people greatly underestimate. KidsAndCars.org focuses attention to these tragedies with education and public awareness campaigns to this previously unrecognized public safety problem.
Love Them, Protect Them. Donate Now.
Enjoy the PGA training ground of the Midwest Tour and support KidsAndCars.
Support “Sister” Angela Caporelli and her team BUSTing with Hope on her 60 mile walk at the 3 Day for the Cure event.
$10 can provide a bike helmet and $50 can provide a car seat to kids who don’t have them.
Since 1998 through just last week, 500 children have died after being left unintentionally in a hot car according to the child safety organization Kids and Cars and now that the warm weather is upon us that number is unfortunately, likely to rise. In 2010, 49 children died from vehicular heat stroke, which was the highest number of fatalities in one year since the data has been tracked. To help prevent more tragedies in 2011, now is the time to educate parents and drivers on the dangers of leaving children unattended in a car especially during the warm summer months. These tragedies can happen to anyone. A change in routine, stress, a sleeping baby in the back, can all contribute to a parent or caregiver forgetting to take their child out of a car. Some knowingly leave children in a car “just for a minute” not realizing how quickly the temperature in a car can rise to dangerous levels. Even on a 70 degree day, the inside temperature of a car can exceed 120 degrees even with windows partially open. Statistics also show that these incidents occur more often with younger children--75 percent of those killed were under 2 years of age.
Here are some tips to help avoid these unnecessary deaths and keep your children safe.
- Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle (not even for a minute).
- Check the car to make sure that all occupants leave the vehicle or are carried out when unloading. If you lock the door with a key, rather than with a remote, it would force that one last look in the car before leaving it.
- Always lock your car and keep keys and remotes away from children.
- Keep a stuffed animal in the front passenger seat as a reminder of a child in the backseat.
- Place something in the backseat that you would need, such as a purse, briefcase or cell phone.
- Have a plan that your childcare provider will call you if your child does not show up.- If you see a child alone in a car especially if they seem hot call, 911 to help get them out.
Consumer Reports 6/3/2011
by Liza Barth
Because deaths of children left in hot cars are occurring at an alarming rate this summer, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration convened a roundtable discussion on Tuesday in Washington. In attendance were David Strickland, the N.H.T.S.A. administrator; auto industry representatives; child safety proponents; technical experts; and a mother whose child died from hyperthermia this year.
The attendees applauded the safety agency’s decision to give the problem a visible platform. Jan Null, a certified consulting meteorologist from San Francisco State University who has studied the conditions that cause vehicles to heat rapidly, was among the attendees. “I felt that perhaps we’ve turned a corner,” Mr. Null said in a telephone interview after the roundtable. “The N.H.T.S.A.’s involvement creates a lot of momentum for efforts to raise awareness and educate parents.” “I’m ecstatic that N.H.T.S.A. is getting involved,” said Janette Fennell, the president and founder of KidsAndCars.org, in a phone interview. “For me, this is like a dream come true.”
The discussion began on a somber note as Kristie Reeves-Cavaliero explained how her daughter, Sophia, died in May after being left in a pickup truck rather than dropped off at day care. In the months since that tragedy, Ms. Reeves-Cavaliero and her husband have worked to encourage better communication, calling on day-care providers and parents to pledge to notify each other when a child was expected to be absent or when a child didn’t appear on time.
Speaking to the roundtable panel, Ms. Fennell repeated her contention that a technical solution was needed, whereby a government-mandated, manufacturer-installed warning device would tell the caregiver that a child had been left behind in a vehicle. She also suggested strategies for raising awareness and educating parents, including a coordinated effort to communicate the dangers to parents before they left the hospital with a newborn baby.
The New York Times 8/7/2011
by Paul Stenquist
As Kids Keep Dying in Car Trunks, GM Fix is Elusive
In June, 2009, a pair of Arkansas children, 5-year-old Curtis Markley and his 4-year-old sister, Virginia, perished from heat stroke while trapped in the trunk of their parents’ 2000 Chevrolet Malibu. It wasn’t the last time a child died that way. In the past two months, three more youngsters, two in Indiana and one in Oklahoma, lost their lives after getting trapped in the scorching hot trunks of General Motors cars.
Nearly 10 years after the federal government mandated interior trunk releases in new autos, older cars never equipped with the safety devices continue to kill children drawn by curiosity into a little-known hazard.
This danger has called attention to the track record of GM, which has long boasted of its commitment to prevent trunk entrapment deaths.
FairWarning Reports 8/4/2011
by Christine Young
FairWarning Post by Janette Fennell 8/5/2011
KidsAndCars.org commends FairWarning for this excellent article about the importance of an internal trunk release in all vehicles to save the lives of innocent children. It’s very important to understand that to our knowledge there has not been one death in the trunk of a car that has this inexpensive trunk release. Not one.
This fact shows why we are so passionate about demanding General Motors (GM) recall 2000 and 2001 vehicles that still do not have the life saving glow-in-the-dark trunk release. GM should install an internal trunk release in their 2000 and 2001vehicles without a release at no-charge to the customer.
Prior to the regulation that required all cars trunks to have an internal trunk release as standard equipment, GM spent years telling the public how they would be going above and beyond anything that might be required to ensure that no more children would perish in the trunks of GM vehicles. GM announced that they would be installing the TrapAlert system which would open the trunk release system automatically; a system that would sound the car’s horn in a distinctive pattern of small chirps after detection of a child; and a modified trunk latch that would make it difficult for trunk lids to be closed by children.
GM received massive amounts of positive media coverage because they said they wanted to “do the right thing.” Their promises to save children’s lives by installing these measures never materialized and children continue to die in model year 2000 GM vehicles. Their lack of action and lack of unfulfilled promises is tragic. It’s not so much about the year of the vehicles, but an ethics issue.
GM’s most recent communications after two more trunk deaths were, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Indiana boys’ family and we are deeply saddened by their loss.”
GM needs to stop talking and recall it 2000 and 2001 vehicles to install a trunk release.
Children’s lives are depending on it!
Safety cards urge parents to "Look Before You Lock”
Despite repeated efforts to alert parents and caretakers about the dangers of leaving children and infants in automobiles on even moderately warm days, deaths stemming from the problem continue in distressingly large numbers.
According to the safety advocacy group KidsAndCars.org, 49 vehicular heatstroke deaths have been reported this year in the United States, a single-year record in the two decades that a tally has been kept. Many of the deaths occurred when children were left inadvertently in parked cars, while others resulted when children played in unlocked cars.
Earlier this year we reported on this situation and the development of a warning device that would alert the driver to the presence of a child or infant in the back seat. Janette Fennell, founder and president of KidsAndCars.org, said at the time that her organization was proposing a requirement for a child-left-behind warning device to be attached to the next Transportation Department reauthorization bill.
“The transportation reauthorization bill hasn’t moved an inch,” said Ms. Fennell in an e-mail. “There have been several hearings, and we are hopeful that things will get moving in January or February.”
“We want a rear seat-belt reminder and a driver alert for children in back to be a provision in the actual language of the bill,” she wrote.
Ms. Fennell added that she hoped the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010, which is intended to create a center for vehicle electronics, software and emerging technologies within the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, might provide some impetus for the development of child-left-behind reminder devices. However, that bill is intended to address a multitude of automotive safety issues, and its passage is far from imminent.
New York Times 12/22/10
Sisters of Invention Determined to Bring HALO Product to Market
Judging by the statistics, as well as the continued interest and support, the HALO Baby Seat Safety System is needed more than ever. The “Sisters”, Sally Davisson , Angela Caporelli, Lisa Sheehy and “brother” Danny Brown, continue to work toward that end.
Progress continues to be made, and we appreciate all of the people and organizations who provide on-going encouragement and expertise to make the HALO products a reality. If you would like to be updated on the progress of the HALO Baby Seat Safety System, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to our e-mail update list.
The continued outpouring of interest and support is very motivational. The Sisters greatly appreciate the vast international community’s commitment to child safety and look forward to sharing more positive developments in the near future.
Sisters of Invention 3/1/11
Mom Faces Trial for Leaving Toddler in Car
Controversial child endangerment case stirs Internet debate
Treffly Coyne was out of her car for just minutes and no more than 10 yards away. But that was long and far enough to land her in court after a police officer spotted her sleeping 2-year-old daughter alone in the vehicle; Coyne had taken her two older daughters to pour $8.29 in coins into a Salvation Army kettle. Minutes later, she was under arrest — the focus of both a police investigation and a probe by the state’s child welfare agency. Now the case that has become an Internet flash point for people who either blast police for overstepping their authority or Coyne for putting a child in danger.
Associated Press Updated 2/27/11
Kids Die in Hot Cars, Half Because Parents Forget Them
Nineteen children this year have died after overheating in hot cars, the most deaths in the first half of a year since researchers began tracking such deaths in 1998.
Seven children died during the week of June 13, says Jan Null, an adjunct professor at San Francisco State University, who has recorded 464 heat-related deaths in children in the past 12 years.
Thirty to 40 children die in hot cars every year, he says, and all of the deaths were preventable.
USA Today 6/30/10
By Liz Szabo
Janette Fennell, the president and founder of Kids and Cars, was devastated to learn of the tragedy in Portageville, Missouri. When asked about how long is too long to leave a child in a car, Fennell responded, “You should never leave a child alone in a vehicle, so many things can happen.” Heat is always a concern, as it was in the deaths of twin girls Wednesday in Southern Missouri.
However, leaving children alone in a car can lead to other problems. Fennell points to accidental window strangulation, accidental car movement and the possibility of the child leaving the car and getting hit by another vehicle. In an NBC Action News experiment at 11 a.m. Thursday morning, the interior temperature of an SUV in the sunshine rose 40 degrees in 10 minutes. At 11 a.m. the thermometer read 80 degrees, by 11:10 it read 120 degrees. Fennell was not surprised by how quickly the mercury rose.
The non-for-profit organization, Kids and Cars, suggests several simple steps to avoid accidentally leaving your child in a hot car:
-Fennell suggests always locking your car.
-Also, she says, “Take a teddy bear or some stuffed animal and put it in the baby's car seat. And when you get ready to put the baby in, throw it up front in the passenger seat. We're so cue dependent as humans, so that's your reminder.”
-She also recommends putting an item you’ll need at your final destination in the back seat so you’ll be forced to look for it.
It’s also very important to have a system set up with the family’s child care provider. The provider should have a laundry list of phone numbers to call if the child doesn’t make it on time.
Fennell considers herself an advocate for the voiceless, “The children are innocent, and if you can imagine with the work that we do, the worst thing that could ever happen is the death of a child.”
Fennel says 70% of heat related child car deaths are caused by a close relative of the child. Most are accidents. Though, Fennell says it could happen to anyone.
NBC Action News 6/17/10
The Dangers of the "Parenting Routine"
Every one of us could find ourselves facing a scene that will inflict more punishment than any judge and jury ever could.
Last July 1st Rimma Shvartsman, a Bucks County woman, strapped her little neighbor, two year-old Daniel Slutsky, into her minivan. But by the time she got to Fairy Tales, her day care center, Shvartsman says she forgot that Daniel was in her car. She didn't remember for seven more hours. By the time the horrified woman ran out to her car and lifted the hatch, it was far too late. Daniel had gotten out of his booster seat, but couldn't figure out how to unlock the car. His body was on the floor, brain dead, his internal temperature having reached 108 degrees.
Hyperthyperthermia Deaths of Children in Vehicles
In 2010 there were at least forty-nine deaths of children due to hyperthermia (heat stroke) from being in hot vehicles. In the previous year (2009) there were a total of at least 33 such fatalities in the United States due to hyperthermia after they were left in hot cars, trucks, vans and SUV's. Since 1998 there have been at least a total of 494 of these needless tragedies. This study shows that these incidents can occur on days with relatively mild (i.e., ~ 70 degrees F) temperatures and that vehicles can reach life-threatening temperatures very rapidly.
Department of Geosciences 1/4/11
By Jan Null
Did you know that a child’s body heats up 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s? It only takes a few short minutes before a kid can become dangerously overheated.
Every year, more than 30 children die because they are left alone in a car. In just 10 minutes a car’s temperature can increase by 19 degrees and it continues to rise as time goes on. There is no evidence that cracking the windows helps keep a car cool. In fact, sunshine coming through car windows makes the car work like an oven.
Safe Kids St. Louis 5/13/10
MMX The Associated Press 6/25/10
Rock Hill Police Investigate Children Left in Car
On Thursday police responded to a call about a baby being left in an unoccupied vehicle in a parking lot outside a restaurant off of Cherry Road, the report said. When police arrived they found a minivan with New Hampshire tags with two small children in car seats sleeping inside, the report said.
PA Herald 12/11/10
Recommendation on the Prevention of Leaving Children Unattended in Motor Vehicles
Report from Consumer Safety Commission of France
Table no. 1: Children left unattended in a motor vehicle in France from June 2007 to August 2009
|Responsible Person||Completely forgot||Child left intentionally in the car||Circumstances unknown||Total|
|Father and mother||1||2||3|
|Total en %||42%||54%||4%||100%|
ABC 36's Chris Dietz talks to Sally Davisson and Lisa Sheehy, two of the "Sisters of Invention", about their Halo Baby Seat Safety System. The Halo system is designed to remind parents and caregivers when they leave their child in a car.
WTVQ Lexington, KY 7/1/09
Unspeakable tragedies lead to women-led organizations promoting proactive legislation and high and low tech inventions (e.g., Sisters of Invention (mission statement is to save infants from needless deaths in automobiles)).
Feminist Law Professors 8/21/08
by Francine J. Lipman
Toddler Left in Hot Car, Dies
A two year old, found unresponsive in a car parked outside a Lexington home, died of hyperthermia. That according to recently released autopsy results. April Knight was in the care of her paternal grandparents when she died Saturday. Police say she was left in a hot car for two hours. Knight's grandmother Diane Meekins, lives just down the street from April's paternal grandparents, who were watching April Saturday afternoon. Meekins says she say the police cars outside their home, and ran to the car. Officers tried to go CPR on the two year old, but she was pronounced dead at UK Hospital.
"She was our angel."
Officers continue to investigate but say the grandparents may have been dealing with another emergency at the time, and left the child in the hot car. Meekins tells ABC 36, she has heard little from the other side of the family. An autopsy has been performed by the State Medical Examiners Office and Lexington's Crimes Against Children Unit is investigating the incident.
So far, no charges have been filed against the grandparents.
WTVQ Lexington, KY 6/21/09
Kids and Hot Cars: The Dangers of Hyperthermia
Every summer, dozens of American children overheat and die of hyperthermia in parked cars. Hyperthermia, the opposite of the more familiar term “hypothermia,” is essentially the extreme overheating of the body. While most parents tend to believe that this nightmare could never happen to them, these tragedies still continue to occur, year in and year out.
DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog 5/2/10
To any mom who’s ever felt frazzled, overwhelmed or rushed, Oprah says this show is for you. “It’s your wake up call to slow down,” she says. “What happened to my guest today could easily happen to any of you.”
Brenda Slaby says she was once an assistant principal and mother of two who tried her best to be “super-mom”. Then on a hot August day in 2007 she went from being a good role model for children, a good administrator and a good parent to being the most hated mom in America.
The Oprah Winfrey Show 6/09
There are things harried parents and caregivers can do to remind themselves of their little cargo in the back. Offered by the parent organization, KidsAndCars.org - these reminders that don't cost a penny and can help prevent these tragedies. The Sisters of Invention company of Lexington, KY, responding to reports of children dying after being left in automobiles, has a product line that stresses safety. The Halo Baby Seat Safety system consists of two items- an easily installed car seat pad that works with your HALO key fob monitor. The system is activated when a baby is placed in the car seat. If a child is accidentally forgotten or the vehicle becomes too hot or cold, the key fob will sound a reminder and the car seat pad will sound an alarm with a synthesized voice saying “baby in danger” to alert passersby.
Infant Safety Seat Tips
While just about every parent recognizes the benefit of child safety seats, there are still some unnecessary injuries to kids due to incorrect placement or use of the child safety seat. Some parents fail to use a child safety seat at all, while others are using the wrong seat or are using the right seat in an incorrect way. Here are some safety rules to consider:
- Children less than twelve years of age must sit in the back seat of the car.
A baby must sit rear-facing until it reaches the age of one and weigh at least 20 pounds. Both requirements must be met before a small child can be placed in a forward-facing seat.
- Toddlers who have reached the twenty pound, one year rule can face forward until they have reached the upper surface of the car seat and are approximately 40 pounds.
- Children who have exceeded 40 pounds need a booster seat which is fashioned by a automobile safety belt.
- Automobile safety belts must be able to reach across the child’s shoulder and go across his chest rather than his stomach.
Riding Backward in the Car
Babies are infinitely safer facing backwards while riding in a vehicle because the child safety seat is supportive of the baby’s neck, back and head when a crash happens. Make sure your baby is facing backwards if he or she is less than twenty pounds and a year of age.
- There are small, infant-only child safety seats that can only be used rear-facing. You must stop using them when the baby’s head reaches the top of the seat. Read the directions or the label to see what the maximum poundage is on the car seat.
- There are bigger, convertible car seats that can fit a child up to around 40 pounds. They fit backwards at first but can be changed to forward facing car seats when the baby has reached the twenty pound, one year rule.
The Best Infant Car Seat
You don’t have to buy the most expensive model in order to have excellent safety for your child. Try the seat out in your car before purchasing it, if possible. Make sure it fastens tightly to the car and fits in the back seat in a rear-facing position. Look for a seat that can be used in the rear-facing position for as long as is feasibly possible,
Check the weight recommendations of any seat you and follow those recommendations. If you buy an infant only seat, you must know that you will have to purchase a convertible seat at a later date. Choose a seat with the highest weight limitation you can find so you can use it longer.
by Iggy Karuf 7/7/09 www.ChildProofingTips.com
Devices Can Alert Parents to Children Left in Cars
Responding to a death in 2005 in Lexington, Sally Davisson, an advertising executive, and three others have developed the "Halo Baby Seat Safety System," which they hope to have available in the spring for about $150. Davisson's system involves a sensor that's placed underneath a baby seat cushion and activated by a child's weight. The seat sensor communicates with a device on a keychain that sounds an alarm when there's too much distance between the two. "A whole group of us said somebody ought to come up with something," Davisson said. "It is a challenging problem to solve, certainly."
Cincinnati Enquirer 8/22/08