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Child Car Accidents: What You Need to Know

In its research, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that concussions are the most prevalent injury suffered by children in automobile incidents. Although proper use of car seats and seatbelts lowers the chance of injuries in a car accident, children are still at high risk of severe traumatic brain injuries.

Young children may find it hard to express how much the accident has affected them. As a parent, your utmost priority is making sure that your child is safe. Understanding the types of head traumas associated with these incidents can help you protect your child and monitor any symptoms after a crash.

Common Head and Brain Injuries

It is sadly common for car accident victims to suffer major head and brain injuries. However, it can be hard to detect these kinds of injuries without an assessment by a medical professional, especially when the victim is a child.

If your child suffered a car accident, it is best to seek medical advice and keep an eye out for the following injuries and symptoms.

#1. Concussion

A concussion can occur in a car accident due to direct impact to the head or any change of motion that causes the brain to collide with the skull. Concussions can cause temporary memory loss, speech difficulty, balance issues, and visual abnormalities. Concussion symptoms, which may not appear for days after a car collision, include:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea

#2. Penetration

In a collision, objects like the shards of glass from a car window can make their way into the skin, causing a penetrating injury to the brain. Children have tender skin and are prone to this type of injury. The following are some of the symptoms of a brain penetrating injury:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Heavy bleeding from the head and ears
  • Constipation and urinary incontinence
  • Limb immobility
  • Loss of consciousness

#3. Brain Contusion

A direct hit to the head can cause a brain contusion. For instance, getting hit by an object in the vehicle or slamming one’s head against the window may lead to this type of injury. Loose objects should be thrown into the trunk to avoid situations like this. A brain contusion can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Auditory hallucinations
  • Headaches
  • Noise and light sensitivity
  • Fatigue and dizziness
  • Having difficulty balancing
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Problems with memory and focus

It is easy to detect cuts and lacerations, but other injuries take hours or even days to be evident after a car crash. You and your child should seek medical assistance immediately to prevent any symptoms from worsening.

Detecting Signs of Head Trauma in Children

After a car accident, children may have trouble explaining how they are feeling, and babies are unable to speak at all. Here are some frequent warning signs of head trauma to keep an eye out for:

  • Change in eating and sleeping pattern
  • Drowsiness or loss of consciousness
  • Irritability
  • Balance difficulties
  • Constant crying
  • Inability to concentrate or pay attention
  • Seizures
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of enthusiasm for previously enjoyed objects or activities

Long-Term Effect of Car Accident Injuries on Children

A recent study carried out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that the rate of head injuries is higher for children under the age of one than other age groups.

The study also revealed that concussions and unconsciousness were more common in children under the age of one. Children aged one to seven years old have the highest rate of skull fractures.

The study also discovered that neurological abnormalities following a head injury could take years to manifest and lead to cerebral cortex issues that influence social interactions and interpersonal abilities.

How to Protect Your Child from Car Accident Injuries

Parents should take various safety precautions to protect their children from car accident injuries while driving. Following these safety recommendations can lower the risk of serious injuries in the event of a collision.

  • Use the correct seat belts for kids. Most vehicle seat belts are specifically made to protect adults. Get a seat belt made for children who have outgrown a car seat but may not be big enough to be adequately secured by an adult seat belt. Doing this can help ensure that they are adequately protected.
  • Use a booster seat where necessary. It is vital to securely restrain your child in a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt, depending on their age, height, and weight. Most booster seats elevate your child, allowing the adult seat belt to protect their body more effectively. Even if your youngster wants to be an adult and refuses to use a booster seat, it is important to use the proper safety equipment.
  • Install a car seat or booster seat correctly. Children under the age of two should be buckled up and facing the back of the car. If you are in an accident, this gives them the most protection. Children under the age of eight should still be buckled into a forward-facing car seat. Children above the age of eight should ride in a front-facing booster seat until they are old enough to wear an adult seat belt properly.

Learn More about Child Car Accidents

Getting involved in an automobile accident can be traumatizing and, in many circumstances, life-changing. It is even worse if your child happens to be in the same situation.

Filing a lawsuit against the person responsible may not be your first priority. However, legal action may be necessary for you to secure the compensation you need to cover medical expenses for you and your child. Contact a personal injury lawyer today to advise you on your situation.