May 15, 2008
Contact: Chris DeFrancesco, 860-679-3914
Auxiliary Pioneering Child Safety Program in Connecticut
WHALE Stickers Alert First Responders to Vital Information
FARMINGTON, CONN. – The University of Connecticut Health Center Auxiliary is leading the effort to bring a child passenger information program to Connecticut.
WHALE, an acronym for “We Have A Little Emergency,” is an identification program that provides crucial information in the event of a car accident that leaves the driver and passengers unresponsive. Each WHALE kit includes a child safety seat label to identify the occupant, describe any pertinent medical information, and provide parent, guardian and emergency contact information. It also includes stickers for the car seat and the car windows to alert emergency personnel the occupants participate in the program.
“If we respond to an accident and find a mother and baby in the car, and mom is incapacitated, we have no way of knowing who the child is, what medical considerations may exist, or whom we should contact,” says Health Center Fire Capt. Greg Priest. “But a WHALE sticker on the car would tell us we can find that vital information right away.”
The WHALE program has been introduced at the local level throughout the country over the last 15 years and is in place in 34 states. The UConn Health Center Auxiliary is working to implement it in Connecticut, in conjunction with the Health Center’s fire and public safety departments. More information about WHALE is available at www.whaleprogram.org.
“We’re working on getting some of the local police and fire departments on board for starters,” says Auxiliary facilitator Irene Engel. “Ultimately we’d like this to become a reality in all 169 cities and towns.”
“This is a child safety initiative that is long overdue in Connecticut, and I commend the Auxiliary for taking the initiative to implement it,” says Peter Deckers, M.D., executive vice president for Health Affairs and dean of the UConn School of Medicine. “This is just one recent example of the many wonderful things the Auxiliary has done for the Health Center over the years.”
The UConn Health Center Auxiliary supports the Health Center through fundraising and volunteer efforts. More information about the Auxiliary is available at http://auxiliary.uchc.edu.
Caption: A WHALE sticker on a car window and child safety seat tells first responders to an accident that important information about the child in the car seat is available even if the driver is incapacitated. The UConn Health Center Auxiliary has started the WHALE program in Connecticut.
Editors: Emergency personnel are available to explain and show how the WHALE program works, with a car and car seat as visuals. Call 860-679-3914 to arrange a demonstration.
The University of Connecticut Health Center includes the schools of medicine and dental medicine, the UConn Medical Group, University Dentists, and John Dempsey Hospital. Home to Bioscience Connecticut, the Health Center pursues a mission of providing outstanding health care education in an environment of exemplary patient care, research and public service. More information about the UConn Health Center is available at www.uchc.edu.
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