The Issue: Child Deaths from Nontraffic Vehicle Accidents
On April 24, 2004, 16-month-old Alec Nelson was instantly killed when a close family member backed up his SUV and accidentally ran over him. This tragedy cast a dark shadow over the Nelsons, but through their grief they've worked to ensure that Alec "will have more of an impact on people’s lives than most do." Like Alec's family, the Gulbransen family was also struck by tragedy when 2-year-old son Cameron was killed by an SUV backover. The Gulbransens now work to raise public awareness about the dangers of backovers and advocate for safer vehicle technology. As part of their continuing efforts to improve children's safety across the region, both families have partnered with KidsAndCars.org to reduce the instances of children being killed by backovers—an incident that kills two children per week on average.
The Campaign: Raising Awareness About Vehicle BlindZones
All donations to this Grassroots campaign will be used by KidsAndCars.org to advocate for motor safety. For every $60 raised, KidsAndCars.org can provide one BlindZone Awareness Kit to a driver-education program, child-safety group, hospital, or other safety professional to educate the public about the BlindZones that present risks to small children. Donations will be matched up to $5,000 by Bill and Adriann Nelson and up to $10,000 by the Gulbransen family.
Each BlindZone Awareness Kit includes a 28-inch collapsible safety cone to represent the average height of a 1- to 2-year-old, as well as a 50-foot tape measure, safety vest, three-ring binder with safety information, the Consumer Reports blindzone measurements chart, and KidsAndCars.org education materials. Safety instructors can use these kits to perform hands-on demonstrations of the amount of space drivers cannot see behind their own cars.
Janette Fennell was locked in her own trunk with her husband—forced there at gunpoint—thinking only about her child. Their 9-month-old had been in the vehicle with them before the carjacking, but now they didn't know where he was and what kind of danger he was in. After escaping, she was fortunate enough to be reunited with their son, and she found her life's purpose. In the years following, she led a successful campaign to institute internal trunk-release mechanisms in all vehicles manufactured in the US. But this victory was just the beginning.
During the campaign, parents had contacted her to help with other incidents: cars being knocked into gear and children being left in overheated vehicles. So Janette made it her mission to inform the public about nontraffic motor-vehicle accidents and to help protect children from the dangers of automobiles. Today her organization, KidsAndCars.org, works to prevent more than 200 annual child deaths caused by such tragedies as backovers, heat stroke, and power-window strangulations. And KidsAndCars.org goes beyond advocacy too—it also collects data on fatalities and helps survivors deal with their grief through volunteer support systems.
See how Groupon helps you discover local causes and lend a helping hand to projects big and small at the Groupon Grassroots blog.