Smarter Parenting: How To Help A Child Cope With An Auto Accident Injury

A significant incident, especially a traumatizing one like an auto accident can scare anyone - especially a child. A child who gets involved in a car accident not only gets injured during the incident, but would also see their mom, dad, or anyone taking care of them gets hurt as well. They will see that even the strongest people they know are hurt, which can be demoralizing for someone at that age. Thus, since your child’s survival has been threatened, it can turn his/her world upside down. This is why your child needs more attention if he/she have been involved in a car accident than adults.

As a parent, you do your best to make sure that your child is safe no matter what. But what about when your child gets injured? It can hurt you more than it has hurt your child, and it can be more devastating when you don’t know how to deal with an emotionally traumatized child. While you can’t do anything that can prepare your little angel beforehand, you can still help your child cope with an auto accident injury.

Your Child’s Behaviors That You Should Watch Out For

A child who has been involved in a car accident may end up showing certain emotional signs that indicate that they’re having difficulty in dealing with it. He/she would also be more traumatized if he/she witnessed someone much older than him/her get severely injured or gets killed.

Children who are five years old or under at that age are innocent and pure. However, once he/she gets traumatized, that can be very damaging. These are the behavioral changes that you have to watch out for if your child is five years old and under:

  • Relapses on his/her behavior
  • Sucking on his/her thumb
  • Peeing on his/her bed
  • Being afraid of the dark
  • Have separation anxiety
  • Being clingy to you, your spouse, or child’s caregiver excessively

Children who are six to eleven years have more understanding than children younger. However, certain things can be difficult to understand even for an adult. This is why you should watch out for these behavioral changes for your six to eleven years old child:

  • Becoming suddenly disruptive
  • Extremely socially withdrawing from other people and even their friends
  • Having difficulties in paying attention
  • Having difficulties in sleeping and having nightmares
  • Sudden problems at school
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches or stomach aches without cause
  • Getting angry for no reason
  • Changes in his/her appetite
  • Crying excessively

Children who are twelve years and up are often more independent than others. They tend to think that they can handle almost anything. However, you as a parent already know that this is not, this is why you should still pay attention to your teenager. You should watch out for these behavioral changes in your twelve to seventeen years old child:

  • Problems with his/her friends
  • A sudden decline in his/her studies
  • Increase in taking risk or doing risky behavior
  • Skipping school for no reason
  • Having suicidal thoughts and depression
  • Having difficulties falling asleep or waking up at random times of the night
  • Having unexplainable physical symptoms
  • Getting furious without a reason
  • Crying more than necessary
  • Changes in his/her diet
  • Having nightmares

How To Help A Child Cope With An Auto Accident Injury

It can be challenging to know what to do to help a child cope with the trauma he/she feeling and physical he/she is dealing with. However, some steps can be helpful in helping your kid with this traumatic experience.

1. Name his/her fears with facts.

When your child is already ready to hear, slowly talk about the details of the incident and his/her injuries. Why? You may think that it would only scare him/her, which can be counterintuitive on your part as a parent as you want to protect them from feeling any amount of fear. But talking about incidents like these in a way that shows everything in the right light will help your child normalize the accident. It will also help him/her remover any overwhelming emotions. You should never indulge your child in dramatic languages because it’s healthier to stick to the facts.

2. Construct a plan to calm him/her down.

Most of the time, your kid would feel intense feelings of fear after the accident. He/she could be afraid to get back in your vehicle again. If this keeps happening, you can:

  • Get him/her reacquainted him/her by going on short trips to familiar places
  • Remind him/her of the destination and the memories you’ve had on your trips there
  • Frequently go to pleasant places such as ice cream shops or the beach to create pleasant memories of riding in a vehicle
  • Have comforting stuff such as a pillow or blanket within your vehicle

Doing these things may help your child look forward to the future and forget about the past.

3. When you’re talking to your child about the crash, emphasize the word accident.

If someone else has been injured or has died, especially if that someone is close to you and your family, your child may experience anger or guilt. Your child may even feel that he/she has something to with that and may be angry with himself/herself. He/she may also think that he/she could have prevented the injury or death and could end up blaming himself/herself.

When you see that your kid is going through this, make sure that he/she knows that it was an accident. He/she should know that nobody expected that to happen, and no one could ever prevent what happened. You should emphasize the word accident, and make him/her understand and never forget that.

4. You should help your child focus on the things that you should be thankful for.

A traumatizing event like an auto accident is never a good experience. This is when you should allow your child to talk about it. However, you should also remind him/her that there’s always a rainbow after the rain. You should help him/her focus on the positive that you and your family should be thankful for. You can thank that:

  • If nobody died, you and your family are still together, alive and well
  • If nobody got disabled, that all of you are still whole in a sense
  • You and your family can start a new leaf
  • Everyone gets back to their healthy lives again
  • Even with injuries, you’re still able to heal

5. You should re-establish a routine in your lives.

One of the best ways to forget about the accident is to get back to your regular routines. If your child has difficulties in coping with the accident and his/her injury, help him/her get back on his/her daily routine. Having a habit will help your kid in getting stability and be able to feel safe and loved again.

6. When communicating with your child, learn to listen and read between the lines.

You may feel that your child does not fully understand the situation and the effects of the trauma they’re going through. However, this may not be entirely true. You as a parent should prepare yourself to listen to your kid’s complaints and concerns regarding the accident. It can help your child to recover fast from his/her physical and emotional injuries if you take time to listen to him/her and hear out what he/she is trying to say.

7. Take time to learn and understand PTSD in children.

It’s vital as a parent for you to know that even a child can develop PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Even if most children can recover from a traumatizing event, there’s still a tendency that your child won’t. If you think that your child is suffering flashbacks, anxiousness, and nightmares, he/she may be suffering from PTSD.

When your kid has PTSD, it’s essential that you tell him/her that he/she is not going insane and it’s perfectly reasonable. You should also be prepared that he/she may not recover without the aid of a professional, so you may want to consider therapy such as that offered at EMDRHealing, or other similar providers. Don’t be afraid to ask for help as that might be what your child needs.

See A Doctor And A Lawyer

A doctor will be able to see if your child has any underlying injury and adequately diagnose. He/she would also be able to give the proper treatment to your child. This prevents any further emotional and physical damage.

A lawyer, like the ones here, will be able to help you recover compensation for you and your child’s damages regarding the physical and emotional injuries. Your lawyer will be able to help you take the necessary legal actions. You will be able to get justice for the pain and suffering that your child is going through and may be able to put the culprit behind bars.

Dianna Charles

Dianna Charles is a promising young law enthusiast that hopes to bring her youthful spirit in her field. She tries to add a refreshing modern take to topics on the legal world that people can learn from. Dianna enjoys her free time with friends and family, and loves to cook for them.

Kristi Cathey

Hi everyone! My name is Kristi Cathey and I’m glad you found your way to my blog. I am a mother of 3 beautiful angels. This blog was created in order to share my personal experiences in baby care and general health care for pregnant women. If you'd like to get in touch with me, please contact me by sending me an email via Welcome to

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