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June 16, 2012

Kids in Cars
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It’s perhaps the most tragic thing that can happen to a parent: the death of a child due to a parent’s own actions. We’ll talk to an expert to get advice that can save a young life. Then - tens of millions of Americans take cholesterol lowering drugs. But the nation’s most respected consumer group is raising the red flag for some patients. We’ll tell you what you need to know.
Episode Segments:
InfoTrak: Child Car Safety

Dozens of children across the US die every year in hot cars, often the result of an error by a parent. Tony Janette Fennell, president of, a Kansas-based group that compiles statistics and promotes safety measures regarding children and cars outlined some of the most common scenarios and how to prevent a tragic accident. She also discussed the criminal prosecution that many distraught parents face in the aftermath.
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InfoTrak: Questions about Statin Drugs

The medical profession is continuing a debate about who should take cholesterol-lowering drugs and who might be better off without them. John Santa, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, believes that women and children in particular should be cautious about a lifelong statin prescription. He talked about other ways to lower cholesterol before undertaking a drug regimen. He also explained how consumers should choose among the seven statin drugs now on the market.
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InfoTrak: Speed readers

In this age of emails, texts and information scrolling at the bottom of TV screens, Americans are reading faster than ever. Thomas Newkirk, PhD, Professor of English at the University of New Hampshire believes this is a negative trend, and that readers get greater enjoyment and comprehension when they read slowly. He talked about the reasons why people tend to skim text, and techniques they can use to slow down.
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Guest(s) Appearing on this Episode
Janette Fennell
Janette Fennell is the founder and president of, a national nonprofit organization that works to prevent injury and death to children in nontraffic events. Janette learned that being locked in a car trunk was a horrific ordeal; but her second ordeal was convincing the powerful auto industry and Federal government that trunk entrapment was a significant problem. Her four-year successful crusade to make car trunks escapable is an excellent case study in the power of survivors to change public policy. While working on the issue of trunk entrapment, she learned about many other dangers children are exposed to when left alone in or around a motor vehicle. As recent as February 2008 she was successful in getting the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act passed. This new law will require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to set a rear visibility standard, improve power window safety, require that vehicles cannot be taken out of gear unless you have your foot on the brake, educate the public about nontraffic dangers and collect data about incidents that take place on private property. This is the first transportation bill that has been passed since 2005. Janette has received numerous national awards such as a 2002 Public Service Award from NHTSA, an American Academy of Pediatrics injury prevention award, the 2007 National Community Champion award from the Civil Justice Foundation, the 2006 Outstanding Achievement in Childhood Safety Award from Safe Kids Kansas, the 2007 Advocate Extraordinaire award from Safe Kids Kansas City Metro as well as the 2004 Distinguished Alumni award from the University of Wisconsin. Ms. Fennell is sought out as an expert in the nontraffic field and has appeared on programs such as Good Morning America, Dateline, Oprah, NPR, the TODAY Show, CNN, NBC Nightly News, etc.

Kids and

Thomas Newkirk
Thomas Newkirk's most recent books with Heinemann are The Art of Slow Reading (2011), Holding Onto Good Ideas in a Time of Bad Ones (2009) and Teaching the Neglected "R" (2007, coedited with Richard Kent). His Misreading Masculinity (2004) was cited by Instructor Magazine as one of the most significant books for teachers in the past decade. A former teacher of at-risk high school students in Boston, Tom is Professor of English at the University of New Hampshire, the former director of its freshman English program, and the director and founder of its New Hampshire Literacy Institutes. He has studied literacy learning at a variety of educational levels—from preschool to college. His other Heinemann and Boynton/Cook titles include the NCTE David H. Russell Award winning Performance of Self in Student Writing (Boynton/Cook, 1997), Taking Stock: The Writing Process Movement in the 90s (Boynton/Cook, 1994, coedited with Lad Tobin), and Nuts & Bolts: A Practical Guide to Teaching College Composition (Boynton/Cook, 1993). In addition, Tom is coeditor (with Lisa Miller) of The Essential Don Murray, which gathers the most important insights about writing and teaching writing from "America's Greatest Writing Teacher." Thomas Newkirk has been named the 2010 recipient of the Gary Lindberg Award for his outstanding contributions as a faculty member of the University of New Hampshire.