A natural phase of a child’s development first noted by Freud, oral fixation is annoying when your friends' kids won't stop grabbing your personal possessions and slobbering all over them. But it's life-saving if a kid is stuck in a trunk; the act of reaching for that glowing object and pulling it towards its mouth will unlock it.
And so it goes that the trunk release handle is shaped to fit a toddler's hand and glows in the dark like a weird, life-saving mobile over a crib, beckoning young children to try to stick it in their mouths.
The regulation went into effect in 2001. And the world has been a safer place since. Thanks, Freud.