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While driving to the store with her 8-month-old grandson, a grandmother lost control of her car and crashed into a tree. The infant suffered only a few bruises, but the grandmother was knocked unconscious. When rescue workers arrived on the scene, they had no way of identifying the baby or collecting vital medical information about him. Fortunately, both the grandmother and infant received the treatment they needed, but rescue workers felt that they could have been much more effective if they had only known the child’s name and pertinent emergency information.
This could be the situation for anyone transporting a small child. In 2000, 69,000 children under age four were involved in automobile accidents. These accidents happen when children ride with parents, as well as with others, such as grandparents, neighbors and babysitters. If the adult in the vehicle is seriously injured and unable to talk, emergency personnel have no easy way of identifying the child or his/her special needs – vital information that can help rescue workers comfort a frightened child, while knowing who to contact in an emergency allows them to notify parents or the next closest relative right away. That’s when WHALE – "We Have A Little Emergency" – can make a difference.
The WHALE Program is an identification program that started in the early 1990s by Connie Day, a child care-giver in Virginia. The program is now recognized and used by emergency personnel in 34 states.
What is the WHALE Program?
The WHALE (We Have A Little Emergency) Program car seat safety program was developed by Connie Day, a caregiver from Virginia. In the event of an automobile accident that incapacitates the adult driver and passengers, rescue personnel can have a difficult time identifying any children riding in car safety seats. Sometimes, the adults may not be related to the child passenger; which makes obtaining important information about the child difficult or impossible. In such a situation, WHALE can make a considerable difference, possibly saving a life.
How does it work?
One Informational Label attached to the rear of the car seat provides important information about that child in the seat, such as name, date of birth, medical history, and who to contact in case of an emergency. If placed on the back of the seat, this label will not be visible from outside of the vehicle, thus ensuring the privacy of these personal facts.
Two WHALE Car Seat Stickers, attached to the sides of the safety seat, and two WHALE Vehicle Stickers, attached to the rear side windows of the vehicle, depict the WHALE logo and alert rescuers that the vehicle occupants participate in the program.
Even if the local emergency personnel or fire department does not implement the program, it is important that they are aware of the WHALE program, since participating passengers may travel through the area.
What is included in a WHALE Program Kit?
Each WHALE Kit includes the informational label, car seat and vehicle stickers, and a Program brochure with instructions for parents or guardians, all packaged in a clear plastic sleeve.
A message from your little person
Hey, I'm just a little person. I don't know my name, address, phone number or how to reach any of my relatives. Please help assist me by adding WHALE stickers to my child safety seat. In the event of an accident, the emergency personnel will have my name and knowledge of how to reach someone who really knows my special needs! Thanks again for loving and caring about me.
To obtain a free WHALE Kit for your child call the Community Policing Unit at (404) 494-3501. (WHALE Kits are temporary out of stock.)