What is the W.H.A.L.E. Program?
The WHALE program is an identification and information package for child car safety seats created by Connie Day, a caregiver from Richmond, VA, who wondered what would happen to the children in her care in the event of an automobile crash. The first program of its kind in the United States, WHALE is currently used in 32 states.
A Informational label is attached to the rear of the car seat that provides important information about the child in the seat, such as name, date of birth, medical history and who to contact in case of an emergency. A photo of the child is placed in the space provided and updated as the child grows. If placed on the back of the seat, the label will not be visible from the outside of the vehicle, thus ensuring the privacy of personal information.
Two WHALE vehicle Stickers, attached to the rear side windows of the vehicle, depicting the WHALE logo, alert rescuers that the vehicle occupants participate in the program.
We Have A Little Emergency!
Last year 1,329 children under age four were injured in motor vehicle crashes in Michigan. 8 of those children died. Some of those children were not riding in the same vehicles as their parents or guardians. Today, children may ride with a baby-sitter, grandparents, or other caregivers. In the event of a motor vehicle crash that incapacitates parents or other adult passengers, emergency service personnel have no source of information to identify the child or their special medical needs. Efforts to identify and contact the child’s relatives may be significantly delayed. In some cases, rescue efforts may proceed more smoothly and efficiently if emergency personnel know the name of the frightened child they are treating. This is where the WHALE program can make a difference.
The WHALE Tale…
While driving to the store with her infant daughter, a young mother lost control of her car and crashed into a tree. The mother was knocked unconscious, while the child, properly restrained in thier safety seat, was uninjured. Due to her injuries, the mother could not identify herself or her child. The child, because of her age, was unable to communicate with rescue personnel. While both victims received the best care possible, the emergency services personnel felt their rescue and treatment could have been more effective and efficient … if they only knew the child’s name and pertinent emergency information.
To schedule a child safety seat inspection, contact the Fire Department at (810) 364-6611
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