Getting into a car crash is a traumatic experience for anyone, but when children are involved, the situation becomes even more stressful. The instinct to immediately check on the kids is natural, but assessing your condition first is crucial.
Take a moment to ensure you’re physically and mentally capable of moving and not in immediate danger from other traffic, fire or other hazards. Once you’ve established that you’re okay, you can proceed to attend to your children.
Identifying injuries in children
Children may not always be able to tell you how they feel after a crash. While younger kids may cry to signal distress, older children might be in shock. Check your children for bruises, cuts or irregularities that may indicate a problem. Remember, some injuries like internal bleeding or concussions might not manifest immediate symptoms, so seeking a medical evaluation promptly is wise.
Replacing car seats
Knowing when to replace car seats after an accident is another important consideration. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides guidelines for this.
If your accident was minor, you won’t have to replace the car seat unless it’s visibly damaged or the manufacturer advises that it be replaced. The definition of a minor crash requires all of the following conditions to be met:
- The vehicle could be driven away from the crash scene
- The door closest to the car seat was undamaged
- No one was injured
- Airbags didn’t deploy
- No safety features were compromised
If any of those statements aren’t true, the car seat should be replaced even if it looks fine on the outside.
Handling emotional trauma
Physical injuries aren’t the only concern when children are involved in a car crash. Emotional trauma can also be a significant issue. Kids might develop a fear of cars or experience anxiety when traveling. It’s essential to address these concerns as soon as possible to prevent long-term emotional scars.
The cost of a crash involving children can be significant, especially if there are significant injuries. Victims may opt to pursue a compensation claim. Taking action quickly is ideal because state law limits your time to get a case filed. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to get started.