By Lisa Mussman
Northwest Kansas Public Affairs Manager
We all know the importance of a properly-installed car seat in keeping children safe. But what happens in a crash when the driver is rendered unconscious and a child is too young or unable to identify themselves or provide helpful information to first responders?
This is where the WHALE program can help.
WHALE stands for “We Have a Little Emergency” and is an identification program for parents with children in car seats. The idea was developed by Connie Day, a caregiver from Virginia in the 1990s. Day recognized that children may not always be traveling with their parents and wondered what would happen if they could not be identified in the event of a crash.
WHALE was created as a means for emergency responders to identify these young passengers, as well as provide any special medical needs and emergency contact information in the event they are not traveling with their parents.
WHALE identification kits consist of an information sticker and two WHALE ID stickers. The information sticker should be completed and placed on the back of the child’s safety seat. The WHALE ID stickers should be placed on the rear passenger windows to alert first responders to check the car seat for identification information.
Stickers need to be placed on each vehicle that a child in a car seat may be riding in and updated each time a car seat is replaced.
In Kansas, WHALE ID kits are available through the Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office at no charge by ordering online at https://www.ktsro.org/materials-order-form.