W.H.A.L.E./ CHAD Program.

Does your community participate in the W.H.A.L.E. (or CHAD- for Illinois residents) programs? Find out why it should…

Photo courtesy of www.whaleprogram.org

Photo courtesy of http://www.whaleprogram.org

Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 killer of kids.  Why? In many cases, children are either not properly buckled into their safety seats or parents don’t realize that a booster seat is vital to ensuring children fit safely in their vehicle’s seat belt. Don’t take a chance.  Children may be riding in a vehicle with parents, grandparents, daycare providers or others. In an accident, if the adult in the vehicle is seriously injured or unable to talk, those responding to the emergency have no easy way of identifying the child. The W.H.A.L.E.™ Program is intended to give parents (or other caregivers) the the voice and tools to help emergency rescue efforts go more smoothly.

W.H.A.L.E.™ stands for “We Have A Little Emergency.” This 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 will have a difficult time identifying children riding in car safety seats. In some situations, these adults may not be related to the child passenger; therefore, conventional means of obtaining information will be useless. In these cases, W.H.A.L.E.™ can make a significant difference.

Most laws require that all youngsters under 4 years of age or up to 40 pounds must be seated and harnessed in an approved child safety seat when riding in a car. Now that same child safety seat can provide vital information about its young occupant in the unfortunate event that the driver of the car is incapacitated in a car accident. W.H.A.L.E.™ stickers are placed on both rear side windows of the car and on both sides of the child safety seat so that emergency personnel will know immediately that there is vital information pertaining to the child on the back of the car seat. The W.H.A.L.E.™ car sticker contains the child’s name, medical history, names and telephone numbers of two guardians and up to three other emergency names and telephone numbers.

The program consists of three parts:

1. An Information Label is attached to the back of the car seat, which provides important information about the child, such as name, date of birth, medical history and who to contact in case of emergency. The label is placed on the back of the car seat where it is not visible from outside the vehicle. This ensures the privacy of this personal information.

2. Two W.H.A.L.E™ Car Seat Stickers are attached to the sides of the seat.

3. Two W.H.A.L.E™ Vehicle Stickers are attached to the rear/side windows of the vehicle. Each of these stickers depicts the W.H.A.L.E™ logo and will alert emergency personnel that the occupants participate in the program.


quoted from http://www.whaleprogram.org/index.htm

I am currently working with W.H.A.L.E. and my community to modify an existing program in my home town. Illinois is always ‘special’ and it appears to already have a similar type of program set up called the CHAD program. While it is similar both utilize stickers with information affixed to car seats the CHAD program is missing the key of rear window stickers that instantly inform first responders as to its presence in the car. I believe the W.H.A.L.E. programs extra two stickers (for the rear windows)  is a logical step that the CHAD should adopt.

I have begun a dialogue with my police department about both programs and learned the major reason why Illinois uses the CHAD program is because IDOT provides all materials for free. W.H.A.L.E. charges $1.99 for a kit. Would I pay the difference? Yes. But will my first responders know what the sticker means? No. This is why I am still working to improve the current program and or adopt the W.H.A.L.E. within my community.

Why do I care about these programs so much? If you have been following me for a while you know my daughter had some moderate to severe health concerns as an infant and still has life threatening food allergies. Since certain food allergens are present in medications, vaccinations and the like – first responders (911 personnel, fire fighters, paramedics)  NEED to know this information to quickly and safely treat both my own daughter and other children. While I currently keep this information in our car, medical personnel might not know where to look for it (they might waste valuable time looking in my wallet, glove box, diaper bag, etc.); with the implementation and common use of the W.H.A.L.E. program, first responders know what the window sticker means and can check the car seat FIRST.

If you are lucky enough to not worry about medications, allergies, and medical conditions, your child still benefits from the W.H.A.L.E. program- it holds valuable information on how to reach the guardian or caregiver for the child to consent to medical treatment and provide health history, connect doctors to pediatricians to inform on vaccinations and other records, and can provide alternate contacts if the person driving is incapacitated.

Now what?

  • Use THIS LINK to find out if a W.H.A.L.E. program is already up and running in your home town. If not, I can help you as you start to find information on how to bring it into your own hometown (simply leave a comment below to get in touch!).
  • If you are a blogger, add a “GRAB MY BUTTON” code to your site! It will link back to the W.H.A.L.E. program. PASTE THE ENTIRE CODE- it starts with “<” and ends with “>”{the code starts now} <img src=”http://www.whaleprogram.org/images/story7.gif&#8221;  title=”W.H.A.L.E. Program: We Have A Little Emergency” alt=”W.H.A.L.E. Program: We Have A Little Emergency” /><div align=”center”><a href=”http://www.whaleprogram.org/index.htm&#8221; title=”W.H.A.L.E. Program: We Have A Little Emergency”><img src=”http://www.whaleprogram.org/images/story7.gif&#8221; alt=”W.H.A.L.E. Program: We Have A Little Emergency” /></a></div>
  • Share the program with your friends, pediatrician, community leaders, fire department, neighbors, etc.! (You can share this blog article with them through the share buttons at the bottom of this post!)
  • If the W.H.A.L.E. program isn’t for you/ isn’t offered in your area and you can’t start one up- at the very least write down your child’s important information and tape it to a part of your car seat. I recommend covering the personal information but leaving “Emergency Information” exposed. {Live in Illinois? CLICK HERE and read through the PDF files in the tab “child passenger safety”. You can even order stickers for yourself, family and friends- for free!}
  • Use On-Star? Update your emergency information through their website. Did you can even call poison control right from your steering wheel? If On-Star contacts emergency personnel your information (on file) can be shared!
  • Contact your local fire and police departments. Make an appointment for a car seat check  and then discuss what safety identification steps are already being used in your community. Share the W.H.A.L.E. program or CHAD program with them. Opening a dialogue is the BEST way to start change!



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