When children are injured in car accidents is can seem worse than adults. Drivers - often mom and dad - are entrusted with the safety of their children and when another driver causes an accident and injures their child or children, it is heartbreaking.
There are safety features such as car seats that can help reduce the risk of injury for children by as much as 82%. And all 50 states have laws requiring children to be buckled either with seat belts or in age-appropriate car seats. But despite improved safety features in vehicles and parental education on proper restraints, about 27% of children are unbuckled during an accident. In 2020, more than 63,000 children under 12 were injured in car accidents.
Common Car Accident Injuries In Children
Even with correctly installed car seats, booster seats, and age-appropriate seatbelts, children can still suffer the same physical injuries as adults. The CDC recommends that children under 12 ride in the back seat with the appropriate restraints.
A child’s smaller stature means they are more likely to suffer head, neck, and thorax injuries, whiplash, broken bones, lacerations and organ damage. Since their ligaments are stronger, sprains and strains are likely along with fractures, but their bone flexibility reduces fracture risks.
Because children are still growing, they’re affected differently by car accidents, and may not show symptoms as readily as an adult. They may not feel pain right after, so it’s vital to seek immediate medical attention. Injuries such as internal bleeding are fatal if unchecked.
Concussion, a form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is also possible, but may not be visible immediately. If your child shows these symptoms, they may have a concussion:
• Mood swings and irritability, including crying and tantrums
• Changes in sleeping and eating habits
• Loss of interest in favorite toys or activities
• Low energy, a possible sign of depression
• Unable to pay attention or focus
Early diagnosis is important to begin treatment of TBI. Left untreated, a TBI could negatively impact the child’s cognitive and motor development.
When they were introduced into passenger vehicles, air bags helped improve accident safety for adults. But for small children, the opposite is true. Because the bags inflate at speeds of more than 200mph, smaller passengers are at risk for other high-impact injuries such as head and neck, broken bones, and TBI. That’s why children are much safer buckled in the back seat than the front.
Psychological Trauma And Injuries
While concussion is a physical injury, psychological injuries aren’t always visible but are just as damaging. A child may not understand what’s happening at the time of the accident. The aftereffects of a car accident can bring the same types of trauma as an adult experiences. Combined with physical injuries, a child may also experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, nightmares, avoidance, and PTSD, among others.
Not all children are able to express their feelings, so it’s up to the parent to be aware of possible psychological injury. They may have difficulty coping with the trauma of the accident, and it can also affect their school and everyday life. Therapy can be helpful to the child to work through the trauma and move forward.
Kansas City Car Accident Attorney
Since 1918, The Popham Law Firm has helped hundreds of people in many accident types, from simple fender benders to accidents involving injuries and property damage. We will fight to obtain the needed compensation for the injury to your children and yourself. Talk with us and we'll be happy to review your case and let you know how to proceed. Contact us at (844) 243-2288 or use our online contact form to get started.