Were you Involved in an Auto Accident with a Child?
Immediately following a motor vehicle accident involving a child it is important to call emergency responders. If on hand, set up cones and put on your flashers to prevent a secondary accident. Do not attempt to move your child until first responders arrive. Certain injuries could worsen if you do so. It is important to accept medical help for both you and your child, first, at the scene of the accident and later at a hospital or with a family doctor.
Young children may not be able to express with words or actions if he or she is not feeling well or where the pain is coming from. For this reason, set up an appointment with your pediatrician even if emergency room doctors care for your child. In many cases injuries and symptoms stemming from an auto accident are not noticeable right away. Symptoms may include:
Purchase a new car seat for your child. It may not be visible to the naked eye but the force from a motor vehicle accident can weaken the material of the car seat making it unsafe to use. A damaged car seat may not be able to provide safety if another accident were to occur. Make sure all caretakers including babysitters, daycare workers, and school officials are aware of the accident so they too can pay close attention to any symptoms that may arise. Obtain the necessary medical help you think your child needs. It is important to remember that you know your child’s behavior better than anyone. If something seems off, get medical attention for your child immediately.
Common Infant Auto Accident Injuries
In a 2010 analysis by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, contusions and lacerations were the most common head injuries for all children. A toddler involved in a motor vehicle accident may also suffer from contusions in the rib, shoulder and stomach areas caused by the seat belts from the car seat. It is not uncommon to see scrapes, bruises and muscle strains as well. Because muscles are not yet fully developed, an infant or toddler may sustain an injury to the neck and/or back.
How to Prevent Auto Accident Injuries to Children
It is impossible to prevent all car accidents, although Elon Musk is trying to just that. In the meantime, the best thing you can do is make is as safe as possible for your infants and toddlers. Select a car seat based on your child’s age, size, and weight. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions and make sure the car seat fits in your vehicle accordingly. SafeCar.gov recommends the following car seat for specific age ranges:
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