What if you or your daycare provider were knocked unconscious, or worse, in a car accident? If your child is too young to communicate with emergency responders, what would happen?
“W.H.A.L.E. stands for We Have A Little Emergency,” explained Jill Schmidt, a Rotarian who helps with the program. “It was designed by a daycare provider in Virginia and she was wondering what would happen if she was hauling a bunch of kids and got into an accident. How would they identify the kids?”
The WHALE project is actually a set of stickers that they use on the car seats to identify the kids in an emergency. The car seat stickers are a simple idea which provide critical information - the child’s identity, medical information, and his or her emergency contacts.
“With the kind of setup that so families have these days, there might be numerous parents and numerous grandparents that need to be contacted,” Schmidt said.
The kits include window stickers, so first responders know to check the back of the car seat, as well as the car seat sticker which provides the information. Tyler Williams is a dad and EMT who uses the WHALE stickers. Since car seats are always transported with the child to the hospital, he says, the program is helpful.
“That gives us a lot of information right away that normally we wouldn't have. It at least gives us a little bit of peace of mind that we got some pieces of the puzzle as we're in route to the hospital to relay that to the doctor right away,” Williams said.
Schmidt says, while she wishes the stickers weren’t ever needed, they’ve already proven to be helpful.
“Unfortunately, there have been accidents in our community where the WHALE project has been used and we've been contacted and thanked for being able to put those stickers on the car seats,” Schmidt said. “We are pretty passionate about the safety of our children.”
For more information or to order a WHALE kit, go to whaleprogram.org.