You may have seen Orofino Fire Chief, Jon Hoyt at the Clearwater County Fair this past year telling parents, grandparents and others about a little known program called “WHALE”.
In 2012, 42,000 children under the age of four were involved in automobile crashes. These crashes 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 their special needs - vital information that can help rescue efforts go more smoothly.
Sometimes, just knowing the child’s name can help rescue workers comfort a frightened child, while knowing whom to contact in an emergency allows them to notify parents or the next closest relative right away. That’s when WHALE can make a difference.
WHALE is an identification program that started in the early 1990s by Connie Day, a child caregiver in Virginia, who wondered what would happen to the children in her care in the event of a car crash. The program is now recognized and used by emergency personnel in 25 states.
A kit contains two window stickers, two car seat stickers and an information card. It’s easy to participate in the program. All parents need to do is complete the information on the card in the kit, and place it on the back of the child safety seat where it will not be visible from outside of the vehicle. Then, put the enclosed self-adhesive stickers on the rear side windows and on the sides of the child safety seat.
The program is free and kits are available at the Orofino Fire Department.