Even at the moment of impact, your first thought was of your child in the backseat. Would she be okay when the accident was over? What could you do to make sure that she was okay after the car accident?
Here’s How You Can Help Protect a Baby or Young Child After a Crash
After the trauma of a car accident, it is important to:
- Call 911. Make sure that first responders are on their way. One call to 911 should send police and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) to the scene of the crash. Police can investigate what happened and write a report. The EMTs can quickly evaluate your child and, if necessary, transport your child to the hospital.
- Try to prevent a secondary car crash by setting up cones, putting on your flashers, or otherwise alerting drivers of your presence. You don’t want to risk a secondary impact that could cause your child further injury. A secondary accident could be particularly dangerous if your child is already hurt or if your child’s car seat was compromised during the first collision.
- Do not move your child until first responders come. If your child has a spinal cord or brain injury, then you do not want to risk making it worse. Therefore, it is important to leave your child in the same position and to let trained professionals move your child after assessing any potential risks. If you are physically able to do so, then you may move toward your child, and you may attempt to console your child until the EMTs arrive.
- Accept medical help for your child and yourself. Your child needs to be seen by a doctor to check for injuries, and if you are hurt, then you need to be treated so that you can take care of your baby. Often, this means a trip to the hospital for a complete evaluation.
- Call your child’s pediatrician. If emergency room doctors care for your child, then it is essential to follow up with your child’s own doctor to make sure that your child gets the right care. Your pediatrician may schedule an in-office follow-up appointment if your child is discharged from the emergency room or your pediatrician may come to see your child at the hospital if your child is admitted to a facility where the pediatrician has privileges. Additionally, your child’s doctor may provide you with referrals to other doctors and specialists, as needed. Depending on your child’s unique injuries, this may include an orthopedist, neurologist, plastic surgeon, or physical therapist, for example.
- Watch carefully for symptoms of injury. These symptoms may include excessive crying, sleepiness, the inability to be consoled, lack of interest in rattles or toys, lack of interest in eating, or any other change in behavior. If any of these symptoms develop in the hours or days after the accident, then you should get prompt medical treatment for your child even if your child was seen by a doctor soon after the crash.
- Get a new car seat. Car seats should be replaced after moderate or severe accidents and after some minor accidents. A car seat that has been in a crash may be unable to provide adequate safety if another crash occurs.
- Notify any babysitters, daycare workers, or other caretakers of the crash. Everyone should know what happened so that your child can be watched carefully and so that any symptoms of a possible injury can be reported to you and your child’s doctor.
- Get the right ongoing medical help. If you think your child needs the specialized care of a certain type of doctor, such as a neurologist or an orthopedist, then you might have to fight for it. However, you should not have to pay for it out of your own pocket. Instead, these costs should be part of your child’s accident recovery.
Your child did not cause the wreck and should not have to live with the significant injuries that she suffered in the car crash. Instead, she should get the legal help that she needs to make a fair recovery.
Your child’s recovery may include compensation for past and future medical expenses, out-of-pocket costs, physical pain, and emotional suffering. Additionally, if your child suffered a permanent injury and will be unable to work as an adult, then future lost income may also be part of your child’s recovery. Without this financial recovery, your child may suffer more than she has to after a car accident injury.
Contact us online or call us directly at 800.800.5678 to find out more about your child’s rights and possible recovery. Please share this article on Facebook or Twitter so that other parents will know what to do if they are ever involved in a crash with their children.