ITDs Office of Highway Safety coordinated
a media event in Boise late last month to kick off statewide
distribution of WHALE (We Have a Little Emergency) identification
kits. The kits provide instant identification of a child in
a car safety seat when an adult in the car is injured and
unable to talk.
Fire fighters, police officers and child safety partners
gathered at a Wal-Mart parking lot to demonstrate proper use
of the identification system with child safety seats.
Children dont travel just with parents or guardians.
They may ride with grandparents, babysitters, neighbors and
other caregivers, said Josephine OConnor, of the
Idaho Transportation Department Office of Highway Safety (OHS).
Everyone who transports young children should have this
information attached to their child safety seats.
Sometimes, just knowing a childs name can help rescue
workers comfort young patients, OConnor said.
WHALE identification kits are available free to parents and
caregivers across the state at some of Idahos emergency
medical service providers, hospitals, fire departments and
local law enforcement agencies, and at Treasure Valley Wal-Mart
We think it is a wonderful program, said Sarah
Berg of the Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in an
Idaho Statesman interview. Being a trauma center, we
are very familiar with what happens to accident victims. All
to often, we see kids whom we know nothing about. The ability
to simply know their name and a little about their medical
history can do wonders to help with the care we can provide
Rescue workers can refer to a WHALE identification card attached
to the safety seat and find the childs name, medical
information and whom to contact in the event of an emergency.
Stickers affixed to car windows and the safety seat also alert
emergency workers that the childs information is close
During 2002 in Idaho, 1,934 children under 4 years old were
involved in crashes, according to OHS figures.
Since October 2001, the WHALE program has been implemented
in 34 states and is used by emergency and law enforcement
personnel in those states. The program was developed in the
early 1990s by a child caregiver in Virginia, and further
developed on a national basis by Swedish Medical Center and
the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
For more information on distribution points, or to get a
WHALE kit, contact Josephine OConnor, Idaho Office of
Highway Safety, at (208) 334-8103.