We hope you never have to read this post. We hope you never have a car accident, period. Much less with your child in the car at the same time. However, as careful a driver as you are, other motorists are unpredictable.
It’s never easy if you meet an accident and your child is riding with you. We hope that you followed all the important safety precautions mandated by law. We have also written about tips on how to keep your kids safe in the car.
We have written an article on what to do if you meet an accident. But if you have a child with you during the accident, here’s what to do.
Call the Police and 911 if needed.
Make sure that you and the child are safe. To make sure that everything is fine, call 911 and the police. They can help ensure that you are really okay. Sometimes, kids and adults may be fine right after an impact, but they may exhibit some trauma a few hours later.
Check for injuries
Of course, your first instinct after a severe accident is to phone for an ambulance. After making sure they are on their way, do not be tempted to try to move your child until the ambulance arrives. It could risk worsening any head or spinal injuries already sustained in the accident.
At first, the stress and the worry might get to you, and all you want to do is go home without anyone making any fuss. Our advice: swallow your pride and accept any and all medical attention offered to both you and the child. Remember, though, that some injuries take longer to show physical symptoms than others.
A child may appear relatively fine at first. Be aware of excessive crying or distress (relative to normal) in babies. If they refuse to eat or play with favorite toys, immediate medical attention advised. The same goes for trauma in older kids – nosebleeds and even bleeding from the mouth, abnormalities in breathing and speech, physical weakness and even episodes of unconsciousness should also be examined by a doctor as soon as possible.
Another thing to remember is to notify all other regular caregivers about what has happened to you. It helps if the grandparents and babysitters are aware of the crash and that no physical signs of trauma have yet appeared. This way, they will know to keep an eye out for any symptoms that may come up while the child is in their care.
Replace the Child’s Car Seat
As a rule, be better safe than sorry and replace the car seat regardless of the severity of the accident you were in; unless it was a minor thing like a small bump with virtually no impact at all.
But in any other case, make sure the child’s car seat replaced. It will have absorbed all that impact and force and sustained more damage than you’ll be able to see. In this weakened state, you can hardly expect it to be in any condition to protect your child from another incident. Check with your insurance or the other driver’s insurance if the cost of the car seat is included in what they will cover.
In an especially severe accident, replace the car seat even if the child was not in the vehicle at the same time. You cannot risk having another accident, and the child sat with sub-standard, potentially unsafe protection.
Seek Legal Advice
There are compensation packages available for children injured in vehicular accidents, on which you as the parent might be able to claim. It goes without saying; a lawyer will be able to advise what exactly you are entitled to and why.
They will advise this, and so will we, by the way – don’t be tempted to post about it on any social media channels. It complicates matters, and there are legal implications involved. In short, wait until after the settlement.
Your precious one deserves your attention and your care. Please don’t be the cause of accident. Pay attention to the road. DON’T text or call while driving! If you are the cause of the accident, it will be a terrible, terrible burden to bear for the rest of your life.