The after-effects of a car accident can be wide-reaching and long-lasting. A sudden, traumatic event like a car accident can cause significant mental, emotional, and physical injuries that can be quite difficult to recover from. As this is all true for an adult, it’s even more true of a child who is in the car when an accident occurs. Helping a child deal with the immediate and longer-lasting effects of this trauma is crucial to their proper development as they age and grow. Here are some important steps to take if your child was in the car when an accident occurred.
Take Care of Injuries
The most visible results of a car accident are, obviously, the physical injuries which occur. It’s important to have your child thoroughly checked over for external and internal injuries by a medical professional. Since a child’s body is smaller, it may not be able to absorb the forces of the accident as effectively as an adult’s body can. This means that it’s crucial to check for any type of internal injuries which could end up having much more serious long-term effects.
It’s important to follow through with your child’s care to ensure they are completely healed from their injuries. If long-term physical therapy is involved, the medical costs can quickly become overwhelming. In this case, finding a car accident attorney is an important step to take, to attempt to obtain an insurance settlement which can help to relieve the burden that medical expenses create. Since it can be difficult for children to advocate for themselves as they’re being treated, it’s important for you, as their caregiver, to stand up for them and ask the questions that need to be asked to ensure they’re receiving the highest quality of care.
Provide Emotional Support
Motor vehicle accidents involving children are especially devastating, not only because of the increased risk of physical injuries but because of the increased risk of mental and emotional injuries, as well. Most children, fortunately, don’t have to deal regularly with the type of trauma they’ll be confronted with during a car accident, meaning their still-developing brains will have great difficulty in processing the emotions they experience as a result of the accident.
That’s why it’s so important to show them an extra measure of love and support as they work through the difficult emotions that they’re experiencing. Provide them with a safe place where love is showered upon them, where patience is abundant, and where questions can be answered in a way that they can understand. There may be long nights as they deal with nightmares and flashbacks, and it’s important that you’re there for them to provide that extra snuggle when they need it most. As difficult as a car accident is for you to process, you can rest assured that for a child, who doesn’t completely understand what happened, that it’s that much more difficult to process.
Be an Advocate
As mentioned, it’s important to advocate for your child when they’re being treated for the physical effects of a car accident. In addition, it’s important to advocate for your child as they deal with the other effects of the accident, as well. Explain what your child experienced to teachers and parents of friends so they can work to provide an extra level of care, just as you are.
If a legal battle ensues as you work toward an insurance settlement, do your best to keep your child out of the process so that they don’t have to continually relive the events of the accident. Basically, just guard your child in every way possible so they can be healed completely on their own timetable to help prevent any lifelong effects of the accident.