No matter how safe you drive when your little ones are in the back seat of your car, there is always the potential for you and them to be involved in a crash. The reason is that you can’t account for the actions of other drivers. Given this statement, it makes sense to prepare ahead for ways of caring for kids in the aftermath of a car accident, no matter how many precautions you may have in place to protect them in the vehicle. Here’s what to do after a car accident for your children:
Watch for Certain Troubling Signs
You will have 101 things to sort out when it comes to what to do after a car accident, but don’t let that distract you from keeping an eye on your children’s behavior. Specifically, watch for any signs that may indicate that they are more injured or troubled by what happened than they are letting on.
Warning Signs when Caring for Kids
- Vomiting for no apparent reason; it could be a sign of minor head injury.
- Being more restless and irritable than usual or their sleeping patterns are very different than before the crash. This could mean they are suffering from emotional trauma, or having nightmares or flashbacks after a car accident.
- Excessive crying, which is most likely to occur with babies and toddlers. Crying could point to either physical or emotional pain they’re not telling you about.
- Changing their behavior around cars or even toy cars, which could signal traumatization.
If you see any of the above problems, or if your child tells you about anything that is troubling them, try to resolve the situation immediately. Depending on the situation, you might take them to a physician or mental health professional; the goal is to stop the problem at its root. The point is to prevent the issue from growing and becoming more difficult to deal with as your child ages.
Offer Personal Support…
If you notice any of the troubling signs above while caring for kids, it’s important to open up a conversation with them right away. But when it comes to what to do after a car accident, you never want to overwhelm your little ones. So, choose your words carefully and never push your children to talk if they are not ready to do so.
Also, try to stay as age-appropriate as you can with the answers that you give to their questions. Flooding them with too much information could confuse them or cause them to shut down. It’s also crucial to remember not to underestimate a child’s awareness. They might not tell you how aware they are of what it is that is happening, but this doesn’t mean that they are completely in the dark. For this reason, honesty is always the best policy. Anything other than that is unfair and will hinder their healing process rather than help it.
…Without Overwhelming Kids
Looking for a healthy way to interact with your younger children that is neither too overwhelming nor too evasive? You might encourage them to display their emotions, fears, and thoughts in physical form. For example:
- Ask them to act out what happened with their favorite action toys.
- Ask them how danger can be avoidable in the future using dolls, teddies, or other toys.
- Bring out paints or ask them to draw a picture that symbolizes how they feel now that the situation is behind them. Or ask them to depict what they worry will happen in the future.
Friends and teachers can also provide your teenagers with the post-accident care they need for healthy emotional recovery. Consider reaching out to a small group of your kids’ close friends to speak to them about what happened; teens might find the answers that they just can’t get from you.
Share Your Own Problems
As already mentioned, what to do after a car accident involves many tasks. From dealing with your insurance company to checking on the health of everyone involved, your plate will no doubt be full. While caring for kids takes time is a priority, YOU are also a priority. Set aside time for self-care. Share your problems with loved ones, a counselor, or both.
By sharing your concerns with others, you can receive helpful feedback to help you heal emotionally and mentally. You might also learn problem-solving strategies not earlier considered. You might want even want to share your feelings with your kids, depending if it is an age-appropriate talk; doing so can be a bonding experience. They may open up to you more right then and there or be more likely to do so in the future.
It’s important to share your problems and burdens related to the car accident with people who can cope with them. For instance, when it comes to finances, such as claiming compensation for your medical bills or salary loss, turn to a professional injury attorney. As you can see when you read more at Ghozland Law Firm’s website, this kind of attorney can help you when it comes to everything from case evaluations to restitution. Reaching out like this can alleviate the stress of handling legal issues by yourself. It also help free you up to focus more attention on caring for kids.
Final Words on What to Do After a Car Accident
If your children are ever involved in a car accident, whether you were in the car with them at the time or not, focus on helping them deal with their trauma in the healthiest ways. To do this, monitor them for troubling signs and offer the appropriate amount of support. Make the time to be there for them. Also take time for yourself so that you can recharge your batteries and then be a rock for your children, whether they are still little or teens. If you want them to get behind the wheel of their own car one day, these actions are a must.
8 thoughts on “Caring for Kids: What to Do After a Car Accident”
I hope no one ever goes through the experience. In case any family does, the information you have provided in this article will be useful. Thank you for linking our article in the post. Have a great weekend!
I hope your family never needs the car accident response strategy described here, my friend. You have a great blog and so I’m happy to feature it here with a link ~ Keep up the great work!
My entire family was involved in a car accident years ago when a truck plowed into us. He had fallen asleep at the wheel. Fortunately despite injuries we all survived. It was traumatic in many ways. My brothers and I were children at the time. Your advice is very good in this post.
Oh Peggy, I’m sorry to read this. My friend’s brother fell asleep at the wheel and now has a rod in his back. It is tough, not only physically but also emotionally. Thank you for sharing your family’s story and I hope you never have to deal with this kind of horrific incident again. xo
This all sounds like very good advice, Christy. Fortunately, I’ve never been involved in an accident with a child and hope I never will.
I hope you never will either xxoo
Another helpful tip–one that I have used in therapy with kiddos who had experienced car accidents:
Make riding in the car a relaxation excercise. Engage kiddos in deep breathing activities. Do this while just driving around the block or down a short road. Give them lots of experiences without fearful consequences, where you are calm, they are relaxed, and nothing bad happens–this will help rewire their brain so it is less likely to go to the immediate trauma responses.
This sounds similar to how one might get over a phobia, through slow exposure to the stimulus… Thank yo for sharing the additional tip!