What to Do if You are Involved in a Car Accident with Your Child

Being in a car accident is devastating enough, but if your child was riding in the car at the time, then the situation becomes even more terrible. Even if you and your child were lucky enough to escape the accident unharmed, the consequences of going through such an experience at a young age can leave many children feeling scared and unhappy at the very least. Of course, as a parent, you probably always drive as safely as you can when on the road to make sure that you are keeping the risk of harm to you and your little one as low as possible. But, sadly, you cannot always guarantee that other drivers are going to be so considerate, so each time you get behind the wheel, there’s always at least some risk that an accident is going to happen.

If you have been involved in a car accident when your child was riding in the vehicle with you, then it’s important to know what to do next to make sure that you can both recover well and go back to normality after going through this. We’ve put together a list of the best steps to take to help your child recover after a car accident.

Step One: Seek Medical Attention
Even if it was only a minor car accident, you were both wearing seatbelts, your child was in their car seat and neither of you seems to have sustained any immediate physical damage, it’s important to ensure that you seek medical attention for both you and your child in the immediate aftermath. Being involved in a car accident can cause a lot of hidden damage, so it’s always best to ensure that you are both checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible to rule out any hidden injuries that could manifest themselves later.

Car accidents can cause whiplash and other minor problems that may leave both you and your child in pain and discomfort, so speak to your doctor as soon as possible to determine how best to deal with any health problems that have arisen as a result. Of course, it goes without saying that if you fear your child has been seriously injured in the accident, you should call for the emergency services as quickly as possible.

Step Two: Get Legal Advice
If your child has sustained an injury or been otherwise harmed due to a car accident that was not your fault when riding in your car, then it’s a good idea to seek legal advice as soon as possible. If you have been involved in a road traffic accident through no fault of your own, then the other driver’s insurance policy will need to pay out to repair any damage to your vehicle, and potentially for any medical bills for either you or your child that you have had to pay as a result of the crash. This Baton Rouge motorcycle accident lawyer deals with all kinds of road traffic accidents and will be able to offer you advice if you have been involved in a collision with any other vehicle. You may also be able to make a personal injury claim if either you or your child has suffered an injury in the accident that has had an impact on your ability to carry out everyday tasks such as going to school or work.

Step Three: Document Everything:
If you have been involved in a car accident that was not your fault, then it’s important to make sure that you have plenty of evidence documented for any insurance or personal injury claims that you will be making. If either you or your child has been injured in any way as a result of the accident, then it’s a good idea to keep a journal or diary to document your injuries and how they affect your lives. Be sure that you keep a record of any medical attention that your child receives as a result of the accident, even if it is just a simple check over. If physical therapy is required, then ensure that you keep hold of all records of this as well. You should also make notes of any time that your child takes off from school or kindergarten as a result of the accident, or any pain or discomfort experienced that stops them from carrying out their usual everyday tasks. If your child needs to speak to a therapist due to experiencing anxiety or stress as a result of the crash, it’s also a good idea to keep records of this too.

Step Four: Talk to Your Child
Being involved in a car accident is scary enough for an adult, so as a child, you can imagine that it can be even more terrifying. After being involved in a road traffic collision, it’s not uncommon for many children to feel scared and even anxious when it comes to getting in the car again. If you feel that your child may be suffering from a fear of getting in the car, or is reluctant to be on the road in any type of transport, then it’s important to talk to them about their fears and try to get them to open up to you about how the accident has affected them in this way. However, although you may even be feeling fearful yourself when it comes to getting behind the wheel again, it’s not advisable to share this information with your child as it could simply serve to increase their fears and anxiety about getting in the car. Let your child see you being brave enough to get back in the car and eventually they will follow your example.

Step Five: Consider Counseling:
In the event of a serious road traffic accident, it may be necessary to consider getting counseling treatment for your child if they are considerably anxious about getting in the car again after the event. Bear in mind that being involved in a car accident at a young age can be very traumatic for many children; this could even stay with them through to their adult life and make it difficult for them when it comes to learning to drive themselves and getting their own car as an adult. Counseling can help your child to understand their fears and put things into perspective; with the help of a trained child therapist, your little one will be able to find healthy ways to deal with their anxiety and quickly forget all about their fears of getting in the car.

Step Six: Keep an Eye Out for Symptoms:
Often, both physical or mental symptoms of damage caused to your child after being involved in a car crash may not fully manifest themselves until weeks or even months later. It’s important to make sure that you are keeping a close eye on your child even more so than usual in the weeks following the accident to try and spot any signs that they could have sustained a hidden injury or are experiencing emotional distress. Any back or joint pain that was not present before the accident should be checked out by a doctor straight away; you should also keep your eye out for any bruises, bumps or cuts that could have been a result of the accident. When it comes to psychological damage, your child could show a number of symptoms. In general, increased anxiety about getting into vehicles, reluctance to go outside, and being moody or angry more often than usual can be telltale signs that your child is suffering emotionally as a result of the crash.

Step Seven: Long-Term Recovery Plan:

Whilst car accidents are quick and disorientating, they can take a longer time than many people realize to recover from. Even if your child has been lucky enough to escape the car crash without any serious injuries or harm, bear in mind that it could be a while before they are back to their normal self once again. If your child is displaying signs of anxiety about riding in a car again after the accident, then it’s important to be patient and understanding with them, taking small steps to help them regain their confidence and get over their fears. For example, taking them out on short, slow drives with some of their favorite music playing and a familiar toy to keep them company can help them to realize that car accidents don’t happen all the time, and that for the most part they will be safe when riding in your car. If you need to replace your car after the accident, then you can use this to your advantage since a new car can be something for your little one to get excited about – you could even ask for their input when choosing, such as which color car they’d like you to get.

Being involved in a car accident with your child is a scary experience that no parent would ever want to go through. If you have found yourself in this situation, then these steps will help you and your little one get back to normal as quickly as possible.

Madison Main
When Madison isn't tending to her job at a bank, she is hauling her 5 children to soccer practice and other activities. Main is also a speech and drama coach at the local high school.

13 Responses to “What to Do if You are Involved in a Car Accident with Your Child

  • journalds@yahoo.com'
    Journa Ramirez
    4 years ago

    Even if we’re always trying to be safe or away from danger, sometimes we can’t avoid it. The only thing we can do is to be prepared. Thanks for sharing these tips.

  • I think talking about it is the biggest thing I wish my parents had done when we were in a car accident. It was really hard understanding what was happening and it created a divide between my sister and me. It sucks to have to prepare for situations like this but so worth having a plan than not.

  • These are great tips. We’ve been in one very small accident on vacation a few months ago, we were rear ended. Both of my girls were in the car with me. Luckily it was super minor.

  • Great tips. Accidents happen so unexpectedly, but it’s great to be prepared in case anything happens.

  • I don’t have small children anymore so some of these do not apply to me but the ideas are really well thought out. You think of many different contingencies and the tips are so useful.

  • Terristeffes1117@gmail.com'
    Terri Steffes
    4 years ago

    Great tips. Accidents happen and your ideas are very well conceived. Being prepared is the key!

  • These are great tips. My sister was in a car accident when she was young and my mum did many of these things. Thanks for sharing.

  • sixtiemom@gmail.com'
    4 years ago

    Gosh, how scary. We don’t drive, but if we did this would be something that is always on my mind. These are some great tips!

  • Definitely good tips to know. I dont think most people would think of any of this and handy to be aware of.

  • This is very helpful advice. Being in a car accident can be very scary to deal with, especially if you are a kid. It’s good to know you can help your kid overcome the trauma.

  • These are great tips! Depending on the age and child, they communicate so much different than the adult that can verbally say if they are injured. And we all know some injuries aren’t felt until much later. It’s so important to seek medical care just to be safe.

  • These are great tips. Unfortunately, I can say from experience that it helps so much if you’ve thought this all through ahead of time, just in case.

  • It’s one thing to get involved in an accident but it’s definitely more grave when you have your child with you. These are great tips, it’s important to document every single thing and to make sure that you see the doctor immediately.

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