What are the chances that your child will be injured or killed in a vehicle accident? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, roughly 2.9 million people are injured each year in auto accidents, and of that number, 63,000 were children age 4 or under. This does not seem like a high percentage unless the child is yours.
Consider, however, the other people that you will trust your child to in a vehicle. It might be your car pool, teenage driver, babysitter, or even an elderly relative? While they may be safe drivers, think about the following questions.
What happens if they (or you) are in an accident and rendered unconscious?
What information about your child will be available to First Responders when they arrive at the scene?
Unfortunately in all too many cases, Responders or Emergency Room personnel will have no information on an injured child until they can locate a relative. That means they will lose critical treatment time in caring for your child.
What could have been done in advance to eliminate this problem? One answer would have been to have a form of Child ID on the car or booster seat. Here are some ways to create an ID:
Write all the information down about your child on a piece of paper and put it into your glove box. The risk of course is that if the child is in an accident, the information will never be found.
Many local police or fire departments will provide a sticker that can be placed on a car seat giving such information as the child’s name, address, and closest relative. The problem with a sticker is that over time it will lose its adhesive quality, particularly in Southern climates where heat inside a car can be a factor, and fall off the car seat. Also, a big drawback to stickers is the limited amount of space they offer for such critical information regarding medical conditions allergies, medicine, or emergency and doctor contacts. They are, however, better than no information at all.
One of the best systems, called WHALE (What We Have Is A Little Emergency), is endorsed by the National Highway Transportation Administration. This system incorporates window decals, car seat decals, and a large information form to write down information on your child that is then inserted into a plastic sleeve and attached to the seat. If the child is ever in an accident, the information travels with the child. This unique system of letting responders know there’s an ID on the car seat through the use of window and seat decals is the only one we have found that gives such help. Additionally, the form is not a sticker, but a separate information sheet (which can also hold a medical release card, parents business card, etc.) placed in the holder that can be taken out and updated as the child gets older.
It is always necessary to update the ID form when any information on the child changes.
No matter what system you use, it is critical that some type of information is provided and made accessible to First Responders or Emergency Room personnel so precious time can be saved in the treatment of your child.