Demands that GM Recall Cars to Retrofit with Internal Trunk Releases

The Cagle Law Firm advocates support for in an attempt to make children safe in all areas of Missouri and Illinois. Child safety requires the efforts of everyone. Tragedies of children being left in cars and dying of cardiovascular heat stroke are devastating to all involved. A number one way to reduce these numbers is to raise awareness of the dangers children encounter around cars that are non-traffic related. The Cagle Law Firm seeks to increase awareness through our blog, safety reports, and all social media.

The following article is from Janette Fennel, president and founder of Leawood, Kan. – June 20, 2011 … In the wake of two more children’s deaths, is again demanding that General Motors recall all vehicles with trunks from model years 2000-2001 and retrofit them with internal trunk releases at no cost to the customer.

On Friday, June 17, two boys, ages 2 and 4, had become trapped in a 2000 Chevy Malibu in New Carlisle, Ind., a suburb of South Bend. Both died. The incident was eerily similar to the case 2 years ago of an Arkansas boy, 5, and his sister, 4, who also died after becoming trapped in a 2000 Malibu. All four deaths were most likely caused by asphyxiation or heat stroke.

After the 2009 deaths, called on GM to retrofit its 2000-2001 vehicles with internal trunk releases. “GM chose to ignore our request,” says Janette Fennell, founder, and president of, a national nonprofit child safety organization working to prevent injuries and deaths of children in and around motor vehicles. “Now, tragically, two more children have needlessly died in the very same model car. How many more kids will die before GM does the right thing?”

In contrast, has praised Ford Motor Co., which responded to the group’s prevention campaign by adding glow-in-the-dark trunk releases as standard equipment on all Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln vehicles beginning with the model year 1999 and basically had their entire fleet compliant by 2000.

The efforts of (formerly Trunk Releases Urgently Needed Coalition or TRUNC) were also responsible for the federal regulation requiring all motor vehicles 2002 and newer to have a glow-in-the-dark trunk release inside the trunk. “To our knowledge, there has not been one death in the trunk of a car that has this release,” Fennell notes. offers these safety tips to keep children safe around vehicles:

  • Keep vehicles locked at all times, even in the garage or driveway.
  • Keys and remote openers should never be left within reach of children.
  • When a child is missing, check vehicles and car trunks immediately.
  • Install an aftermarket trunk release mechanism.
  • Teach children that trunks are only used to transport cargo and are not safe places to play.
  • Never leave children alone in or around cars, not even for a minute.

Individuals can easily retrofit their vehicle with an “Easy Out Trunk Release Kit,” available through the website for $9.99 each. “They are very simple to install and could save a life,” Fennell says.

For more information about the issue of trunk entrapment (fact sheet, studies, technology, etc.), visit

About Founded in 1996, is a national nonprofit child safety organization dedicated to preventing injuries and deaths of children in and around motor vehicles. promotes awareness among parents, caregivers, and the general public about the dangers to children, including backover and frontover incidents and heatstroke from being inadvertently left in a vehicle. The organization works to prevent tragedies through data collection, education, public awareness, policy change, and survivor advocacy.

Should you have questions, feel free to call The Cagle Law Firm, especially if you have ideas on promoting child safety. The Cagle Law Firm welcomes opportunities to talk with you and/or your organization about child safety. Call Zane T. Cagle at (314) 276-1681.

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The Cagle Law Firm serves accident and injury clients throughout St. Louis and the greater St. Louis metropolitan area, including the eastern Missouri and southern Illinois communities. If you or a loved one needs legal assistance with your personal injury case, call The Cagle Law Firm at (314) 276-1681 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

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