Push for safety release in trunk of older model cars

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - KidsandCars.org is pushing for car makers like GM to add an important safety feature to older models. They say GM needs to retrofit 2000 and 2001 models to add a safety release in the trunk of the cars.

In 2002, it became mandatory for all cars to have a release latch in the trunk, so they want to make those earlier models just as safe.

The group says this feature is important in crimes like kidnapping, and to keep kids safe if crawl in and get trapped.

"An emergency release button would be very helpful," said Rick Seabaugh.

Seabaugh has a two-and-a-half year old son, Luke. He says he worries about something dangerous like this happening.

"It's just to the point that he's really starting to discover that there's a larger world out there," said Seabaugh.

Becky Moore is a pre-school teacher and she agrees young children are very curious, which could lead to trouble.

"They want to know how things happen, things work, they're very exploratory," said Moore.

Janette Fennell is the founder of KidsandCars.org. She says kids just don't know the dangers of playing in a car.

"When children are involved it's usually an innocent case of hide-and-seek," said Fennell.

The group not only pushed to make it mandatory for all cars made after 2002 to have a safety release handle, but now, they're trying to make the older models safe too.

"When I grew up there was only one way to get in a car trunk, you know you put the key in there, and turned it," said Fennell.

She says because of how easy it is to open a trunk nowadays, it can be very dangerous to a curious child.

Kadesha Kilgore works at a daycare in Cape Girardeau. She says it's important to show kids how to use the safety lever.

"I'd probably show them more than once, but they'd be able to pick up on it," said Kilgore.

"Kids like pictures, so if there's a picture of a child pulling down on a lever, I feel that they would know what to do in that type of situation," said Moore.

Seabaugh says he wants to keep his son safe, but worries about drawing attention to something before it's an issue.

"Of course parents are going to have to let them know exactly what it is, with the fault of showing them how they can get in to the back of the seat, so its kind of a catch 22," said Seabaugh. "You want to show them how to get out, so now they know how to get in."

KidsandCars.org says is important to teach your children to not play in or around cars, and to keep your doors and trunk closed and locked.