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How to Help Your Kids Recover From a Car Accident

child therapy accident recovery

A car accident is a distressing experience for anyone, but it can be particularly jarring for children. As a parent, it is important to know how to help your kids cope after being involved in a collision. With care, support, and open communication, you can help guide your child through processing the experience in a healthy way.

The Importance of Seeking Medical Care

The first priority after any car accident is to seek proper medical attention. Even if your child seems uninjured, it is crucial to take them to see a doctor right away. Some injuries like concussions, internal bleeding, or whiplash may not show symptoms immediately. Getting checked out thoroughly can identify any issues early so they can be properly treated.

According to the NHTSA, over 139,000 children were seen in emergency rooms for car crash injuries in 2020 in the United States. Wearing seat belts and proper child safety restraints reduces the risk of injury by at least 50%. Make sure to follow your doctor’s care instructions closely during recovery.

Providing Emotional Support

Beyond physical injuries, car accidents can also cause psychological and emotional trauma. In fact, 4% of children will experience a traumatic experience in their life that leads to PTSD. Children may experience fear, anxiety, sleep disturbances, anger, or mood swings after a collision. Be patient and offer lots of affection, reassurance, and opportunities to talk about what happened. Let your child know it is normal to have strong feelings after something scary. Avoid judgment and remain calm when listening.

Answering Questions Openly

Children will likely have many questions after a car accident. Answer them honestly but keep details simple according to their age level. For younger kids, brief explanations are best. Older children may require more details to understand what happened and why.

Let your kids know that accidents are not common and highlight how rare severe crashes are. Focus on all the safety measures in place to keep people safe, like seat belts, airbags, and car seats. Reinforce that riding in the car is generally very safe. Avoid graphic details that could create more distress. Most importantly, reassure your child that you are there for them no matter what.

Getting Legal Guidance from an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer

If your child is injured in a car crash, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in car accidents. A car accident attorney can advise you on your legal options regarding compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages. For children, injuries from crashes can generate expenses for a lifetime.

An attorney can handle communications with insurance companies while you focus on your child’s recovery. They will determine if the other driver was negligent and make sure your child’s rights are protected. Having strong legal guidance can take a huge burden off your shoulders so you can support your kids during this difficult time.

Overcoming Fear of Riding in Cars

Many kids develop a fear of cars or driving after a crash. Have patience with this phobia and do not force them to ride in vehicles before they are ready. Let your child express concerns and talk through anxieties. Start slowly with short drives or sitting in parked cars again. Praise any small progress to rebuild confidence. Therapy may be needed for lasting driving phobias.

By providing abundant comfort, routine, and open communication, you can help your child work through the trauma of a car accident. Tend closely to any physical injuries while also offering emotional support. An attorney can advise you on obtaining damages. With your help, patience, and guidance, your child can emerge stronger and be prepared to get back to normal life.