As parents, we always want to be there to protect our little ones, and this extends to car safety. We obsess over having the best car seat, installing it correctly and strapping in our kiddos just right. But what if you’re in a situation where all that preparation just isn’t enough?
Though we would rather not think about it, a car accident could leave us unconscious or unable to speak. Even if the car seat does its job, your child may not be able to provide important information to EMTs. First responders to the scene of an accident will immediately try to gather as much information as they can. But what if you could make it even quicker for them to get this critical information?
Place Vital Info On Your Child’s Car Seat
Kaitlyn, an EMT and mother from Anderson, Indiana, created a post on Facebook urging parents to put a label with critical identifying information for children directly on their car seat. Her post went viral and was re-posted by fire departments, like in the Rose City Area Fire Department post below:
The post reads, “Way too often do firefighters come upon an car wreck with child(ren) in the car who are too young to provide any info and the parents are unconscious. It takes 2 minutes of your time to write out the child’s name, DOB, parents’ names, DOB, emergency contacts, and any medical conditions, any meds your child is on and even the child’s doctor and stick it to the child’s car seat. This helps EMS a ton and can also help save your child’s life. Please share this.”
You may also want to include mention of any allergies or other medical conditions your child has, your insurance company information and contact info for your own doctor. Lastly, place it on an area that’s visible from the inside, but not the outside, of your car.
“Children Have An iDentity”
You may have seen car seat labels offered by your local hospital or police station. These are called CHAD (Children Have An iDentity) stickers and, according to the Travelers Protective Association (TPA), they were created after an accident in Illinois, where a 13-month-old child named Chad was not able to be identified at the scene of an accident because the babysitter driving was killed.
The TPA has adopted the CHAD program as a national safety program. The stickers can be ordered by individuals and organizations in any state and be distributed as needed. Be sure to first check with your local hospital, board of transportation, BMV/DMV or police department for stickers. Otherwise, you can order one through TPA for a nominal fee. In some areas, EMTs, police or fire departments may already be trained to look for these stickers specifically.
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Additional Child Car Safety Tips
Car seat luggage tag. We’ve always had a luggage tag attached to our car seat for traveling purposes. I just added a little more information to the back of the tag for emergencies. This way, it’s available for first responders, but isn’t visible to anyone else outside the car. I also use a rubberized cover so the information inside is protected from spills or other damage.
Add an ICE to your phone. You can easily add “In Case of Emergency” numbers to your phone to be available to the police or others if needed. Your ICE is also accessible from the lock screen on some phones.
Prepare a child safety kit. A child safety kit can be critical in the terrible event your child goes missing. It has all of the same information as the car seat tag/label with the addition of fingerprints, DNA (such as hair), a detailed physical description and a current photo of your child. You can request a free kit to have on hand to share with law enforcement to help them quickly find your child.
Always have a first-aid kit in the car. If you get stranded in your car, a first-aid kit is a great first step. Ready.gov has even more tips for what to keep in your car in case of an emergency. Always remember, if you’ve been in an accident and you or your children have been seriously injured, it’s better to stay in the car until paramedics arrive. If you are able, be sure to pull your car over to a safe area.
What kind of safety precautions do you take for yourself or your kids in the car?