W.H.A.L.E. Check Program

We Have A Little Emergency – W.H.A.L.E. CHECK Child Passenger Safety Program

The W.H.A.L.E. Check program was first introduced in May of 2002 in Jacksonville, Florida by Northeast FDOT District Two’s CTSP. This is a child passenger safety education and identification program for parents and caregivers in Florida. In the event of an automobile crash, children are often too young to identify themselves or provide helpful information.

Parents and guardians are encouraged to complete the sticker and place it on the back of the child’s car seat to provide vital contact information to emergency personnel. We suggest users stick the two smaller labels on each side of the car seat. These alert rescuers that the occupant is participating in W.H.A.L.E. Check.

Our popular and nationally recognized W.H.A.L.E. Check campaign remains highly requested and distributed material with important child occupant protection education and information. Almost 300,000 printed W.H.A.L.E. Checks have been distributed in Northeast Florida since being launched. Over 1,656 digital versions have been viewed or downloaded from this website. The site has received over 10,000 social media W.H.A.L.E. Check impressions just in the last several years. Watch the video above to learn more about how the program works.

Free Resources: Printable Flyer and Social Media Graphic

WHALE Check art

Available statewide as a digital download courtesy of FDOT District Two: Click here to download the W.H.A.L.E. Check as a one-page, printable PDF flyer. This can be distributed at car seat checks, traffic safety events, daycare centers, pediatrician offices, government agencies, and hospitals.

w.h.a.l.e. check program

Click here to download this CPS social media image to help promote the W.H.A.L.E. Check program. Don’t forget to tag us!
@trafficsafetyteam on Facebook and Instagram 
@trafficsafetyfl on Twitter and Pinterest

District Two Community Traffic Safety Teams may click here to order printed W.H.A.L.E. Check flyers online now.


The W.H.A.L.E. Check informational flyer also includes child safety seat advice and guidelines. Here are five safety tips to help prevent injuries in case of a car crash:

  1. WEAR YOUR SAFETY BELT: Studies show that if you wear your seat belt, your kids will too.
  2. Follow manufacturer’s instructions: Always check the manual for both your
    car and the child safety seat for proper installation guidelines.
  3. Seat strapped in tight: You should not be able to move the car seat more than one inch
    in any direction at the belt path, and always use the top tether when forward facing.
  4. Chest clip at armpit level & harness snug: Straps should be tight enough
    so that you cannot pinch the fabric of the harness at the shoulders.
  5. Back seat is safest: Children age 13 and under should ride in the back seat.
    Older children no longer need a special seat if their legs bend comfortably at the
    seat’s edge with their back resting flat against the back of the seat.

We follow these American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations and want all children safeguarded in the right car seat:

  • Birth – 12 Months: Babies under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. There are different types of rear-facing car seats: Infant-only seats can only be used rear-facing. Convertible and 3-in-1 car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time.
  • 1 – 3 Years: Toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat with a harness as long as possible – until they reach the top height or weight limit of the seat, typically around 35 to 45 pounds.
  • 4 – 7 Years: Young children should ride in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until they reach the top height or weight limit of the seat – typically between 40 and 60 pounds.
  • 8 – 12 Years: Children should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lies snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach, and the shoulder belt lies snug across the shoulder and chest, not over the neck or face.

Target Zero

The Northeast Florida Community Traffic Safety Program is working to improve how we connect, interact, plan, design, educate, and solve traffic safety concerns as part of Target Zero.

On average, eight people are killed, and 49 are seriously injured on Florida’s roads daily. In most of those severe and fatal crashes, driver behavior is a contributing factor. This initiative focuses on connecting, interacting, and designing our transportation system to specifically relate to those (drivers) most involved in crashes resulting in serious injuries and fatalities.

Learn more about Florida’s Target Zero

In Florida, Target Zero builds upon the Vision Zero belief by focusing on influencing dangerous driver behaviors before serious and fatal crashes occur. Target Zero aligns resources and establishes actions for all safety partners to take evolutionary steps to improve how Florida connects, interacts, plans, designs, operates and maintains its transportation system.

Eliminating roadway fatalities is our highest priority. We recognize that achieving zero deaths and serious injuries will not be easy and will require commitment, energy, and innovation. Together, we can make progress to achieve our target of ZERO.  

Zero is our goal. A Safe System is how we will get there.

To address the high number of fatal and serious injuries resulting from vehicle crashes, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has made a commitment to zero deaths by adopting the Safe System Approach. This holistic view of the road system anticipates human mistakes and keeps impact energy on the human body at tolerable levels. Safety is an ethical imperative for everyone, including users, designers, and owners of the transportation system.

The Safe System Approach is based on six principles:

  • Death and serious injury are not acceptable.
  • Humans make mistakes.
  • Humans are vulnerable.
  • Responsibility is shared.
  • Safety is proactive.
  • Redundancy is crucial.

Five elements that work together for a safer and more accessible transportation system that aim to reduce severe injuries and fatalities:

  • Safer Roadways – This includes design and planning to make roadways more forgiving of human mistakes by separating users in time and space. Examples include dedicated bicycle lanes or the implementation of pedestrian scrambles where only pedestrians are given dedicated time and space to navigate intersections.
  • Safer Speeds – The magnitude of speed is directly correlated to the survivability of a crash. Mitigation examples include implementing countermeasures such as lane narrowing or speed feedback signage or designing context-based roadways that set “target speed” goals to ensure that if a crash occurs, it is at a speed at which humans can survive.
  • Safer Road Users – This includes ALL road users and encompasses shared responsibility. Users must practice safe behavior, such as using raised medians that protect pedestrians when crossing and make them more visible.
  • Safer Vehicles – Employing safety measures in vehicles that help prevent crashes or reduce the magnitude of a crash can reduce fatalities and serious injuries. Examples include autonomous braking, lane departure warnings, and driver alcohol detection systems.
  • Post-Crash Care – This can ensure that when a crash occurs, the proper emergency response is deployed, and all traffic incident management systems work in unison. This includes the integration of emergency vehicle preemption or automatic crash notification systems.

Safe System Approach vs. Traditional Road Safety Practices

Whereas traditional road safety strives to modify human behavior and prevent all crashes, the Safe System approach also refocuses transportation system design and operation on anticipating human mistakes and lessening impact forces to reduce crash severity and save lives.

Traditional Approach

Prevent crashes
Improve human behavior
Control speeding
Individuals are responsible
React based on crash history

Safe System Approach

Prevent deaths and serious injuries
Design for human mistakes/limitations
Reduce system kinetic energy
Share responsibility
Proactively identify and address risks

Northeast Florida is Focused on Target Zero

FDOT District Two is committed to employing the Safe System Approach in plans and projects. Everyone needs to share in the responsibility; everyone has a role! Below is additional information available:

Traffic Safety for Children

Safety rules at home, school and around the neighborhood. The Northeast Florida Department of Transportation District Two Community Traffic Safety Program has developed special educational content highlighting traffic safety for children. It is never too early to educate kids on safety rules – at home, at school, and around the neighborhood.

Materials include the “Safety Town” activity booklet, coloring pages, social media graphics, and videos. Please share these free resources with children in your family, classroom, or neighborhood!

Free Traffic Safety Coloring Sheets & Activity Book for Children:

Traffic Safety Videos for Kids:

Great Safety Tips for Kids:

Stroll and Roll the Right Way!

  • Walk & ride during the day when it is light out.
  • Have a buddy with you.
  • Don’t enter the road between parked cars.
  • Cross the street at a corner or crosswalk.
  • Look left, right, & left again before crossing a street.
  • Sidewalks are the safest place to walk or ride.
  • Wear a helmet every time you bike or skate.
  • Ride your bike with the flow of traffic.
  • Obey traffic signs & signals.

Children Must Wear a Bike Helmet… It’s the Law!

Florida state law requires all riders under 16 years of age to wear a helmet when on a bicycle. Additionally, any bicycle passenger aged 16 or younger, like small children riding in a bike seat or trailer, must also wear a helmet. This applies if they are on the sidewalk, road or other public roadway. The helmet must meet federal guidelines. All bike helmets should be properly fitted and securely fastened on the head with a strap.

Stranger Danger!

  • Never go up to a car or to someone you don’t know.
  • Have a safe place and people you can go to in an emergency.

Traffic Safety Storytime Videos for Children:

Educating children on traffic safety is vital, so we made traffic safety storytime videos. Two of the videos were read by kids, for kids! The books include “Watch Out On the Road,” “Learn About Road Safety,” “Look Left, Look Right, Look Left Again,” “Be Careful and Stay Safe,” and “Franklin Rides a Bike.”


More traffic safety resources and activity sheets for children can be found by visiting the link  below:

Seasons of Safety

Just as the seasons change, so do our safety messages!

The Seasons of Safety campaign was created in 2018 and includes safety messaging for different holidays and celebrations throughout the year. Each message includes one social media graphic to share on your own social media platforms. We have created messaging for New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Earth Day, Cinco do Mayo, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Super Bowl, MLK Day, Presidents’ Day, Spring Break and Summer Travel.

Our 2022 collection is below. In our Archive at the bottom of this page, you will find past graphics, organized by holiday.


Archive


Celebrate Safely, Designate a Driver and Recipes for the Road

Looking for more holiday messaging and mocktails? Visit the links below for more resources.

The Northeast Florida Department of Transportation District Two Community Traffic Safety Program has promoted our annual Celebrate Safely, Designate a Driver campaign and the Recipes for the Road booklet for 24 years. According to Florida’s 2021-2025 Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP), one out of every four traffic fatalities in Florida involves a driver impaired by alcohol or drugs. Celebrate Safely, Designate a Driver and Recipes for the Road focus on the SHSP strategies of both education and insight into creating safer communities. They are specifically designed to work with local partners including law enforcement, team members, restaurants, and bars to promote responsible alcohol service and personal use at events or party hosting. They also promote safe transportation choices that encourage alternatives to driving while impaired.

Traffic Safety Countermeasures

FDOT District Two Community Traffic Safety Program in Northeast Florida created an educational countermeasure series based on proven measures of effectiveness by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The three videos below highlight cost effective safety engineering countermeasures which help reduce lane departure crashes and intersection crashes, and protect vulnerable road users.

Lane Departure Countermeasures
Intersection Countermeasures
Pedestrian/Bicyclist Countermeasures

These top three safety emphasis areas are part of Florida’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan and FDOT’s Vital Few safety focus. Fifteen digital cards were created to share, download, and print for Community Traffic Safety Team members, which include the 4E’s (Engineers, Educators, Law Enforcement, and Emergency Medical Personnel), city/county/state agencies, private industries, and local citizens. Visit the three blogposts below for more information and to access the educational cards.

Five Traffic Safety Countermeasures that Work in Preventing Roadway Departures:

  • Curves – Enhanced Delineation (Curve Signs) and Increased Pavement Friction
  • Rumbles – Center Line, Edge Line and Shoulder Rumble Strips and Stripes 
  • Barriers – Roadside and Median Barrier Terminals and Crash Cushions
  • Clear Zone – Clear Zones and Widening Shoulders Provide for a Safe Recovery 
  • SafetyEdgeSM – SafetyEdgeSM Technology Shapes Edge of Pavement at 30 Degrees

Traffic Safety Countermeasures that Work in Reducing Intersection Crashes:

  • Roundabouts Reduce Severe Crashes
  • Backplates with Retroreflective Borders
  • Left and Right Turn Lanes at Intersections Reduce Severe Crashes
  • Well-Timed Yellow Change Intervals Reduce Red-Light Running
  • Benefits of the Flashing Yellow Arrow Left Turn Signal

Traffic Safety Countermeasures that Work in Reducing Pedestrian-Vehicle Crashes:

  • Walkways, Shared Use Paths, and Sidewalks Improve Safety and Mobility
  • Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPI) Give Pedestrians a Head Start
  • Pedestrian Crossing Islands and Medians Reduce Pedestrian Crashes
  • Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons (PHBs) Assist with Safe Crossing 
  • Road Diets – Roadway Reconfigurations Improve Safety for All Road Users

Additional Resources and Information: