In 2000, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) passed a law that required all new vehicles to be equipped with an emergency release latch inside the trunk compartment by September 1, 2001. According to Kids and Cars, a child safety advocacy group, no children have died from being trapped in a trunk that included the lever since 2002, while 22 kids were killed in older cars that were not equipped with the emergency release in that same period.
“Every year, some 10 to 20 people die trapped in a car trunk,” estimates Janette Fennell, founder and president of Kids and Cars. “While many victims are kids playing hide-and-seek, many more are adults put in trunks in the course of a crime.” Thanks to the standard glow-in-the-dark trunk-release levers found in newer vehicles, these numbers have decreased though.
To help improve these numbers even further, Kids and Cars offers a trunk lever retrofit kit called the Quick-Out Emergency Trunk Release which can easily be installed in older vehicles. They also advise to make sure parents teach their children how to use the levers, while NHTSA provides the following tips to help prevent children from entering trunks where they might accidentally get stuck:
- Teach children that vehicle trunks are for cargo, not for hide-and-seek
- Always supervise your children carefully when in and around vehicles
- Check the trunk right away if your child is missing
- Lock your car doors and trunk and be sure keys and remote-entry devices are out of sight and reach of your kids
- Keep the rear fold-down seats closed/locked to keep your children from climbing into the trunk from inside your car
For more safety tips, or assistance in retrofitting your own trunk with an emergency trunk-release lever, contact Pfeiffer Plainfield Used Cars.