As soon as your child is born, it is a natural feeling to want to protect them from all types of potential danger. You don’t want to see your kids hurt for any reason whether it be accident, injury, illness, or something else. Unfortunately, there are some situations that happen because of negligence and others that can’t be prevented.
Car accidents are one of those events that can’t always be avoided. In 2016, reports show that 128,000 kids under age 13 were hurt in a vehicle crash. Additionally, 723 kids died as a result of being a passenger in an automobile. Accidents happen, so the best thing you can do as a parent is be prepared for what the possible child car accident injuries are. By educating yourself as to what they are, you have options when it comes to trying to help them from suffering any of them. Take a look at the top 7 common car injuries for kids.
Head and Brain Injuries
Injuries to the head, brain, and neck have been discovered to be the most common types of injuries for children involved in car crashes. Some of the injuries that can occur include:
- Skull fractures
- Broken necks
These kinds of injuries can lead to a variety of issues that range from temporary to permanent. Some remain simple physical issues while some kids may suffer from psychological problems after an accident.
Safety Seat Injuries
Even though the main purpose of child car seats is to keep the occupant safe, there are times that they can cause more harm than good. If the seat is expired, installed incorrectly, or the wrong size for the child, it can result in an injury.
The severity of abdominal injuries that kids suffer from as a result of a car accident can vary depending on the force they were hit with and where it occurred. Some of the most common places for children to suffer abdomen injuries include:
- Small intestine
- Large intestine
Chest and Rib Injuries
One of the major organs that suffer when a child is in a car accident in the area of the chest is the lungs. The injury can be the result of impact or it can be from fumes, smoke, or other chemicals that get released into the air from the vehicle. For some children, it is only one lung that is affected while others have both that sustain injury. When the lungs are damaged, it is essential to get the child to an emergency room for treatment right away.
The ribs or thoracic cavity can suffer injury as well and the problems can range from minor tenderness up to a broken piece of the bone-shattering off and puncturing a lung or the aorta. If the aorta gets damaged, it doesn’t take long for an internal hemorrhage and death to occur.
It is common for children who see an accident coming to brace for the impact by tightening up their arms and legs. Then, when the crash happens, it is more likely for those limbs to fracture. Some children will suffer from a broken pelvis due to their child safety belt that is strapping them in.
Kids that are ejected from the vehicle from not being properly restrained have a higher risk for greater injuries to femurs and limbs. All 50 states have laws in place stating that children must be properly restrained, but there are still plenty that don’t have the proper safety restraints in place when involved in an accident.
Injury from Glass
Even though the glass found in cars is supposed to be shatterproof by design, there are times that crashes happen with such force it breaks apart. Children sitting in the vehicle are subject to being hit by flying glass particles. If they come in contact with it, there is a risk for major lacerations or minor cuts and scrapes.
You have probably noticed a warning label in your vehicle that states children in car seats and those under age 13 should be placed in the back seat for safety. That is because most of the more modern cars on the road have airbags. These airbags can deploy at such high intensities that when a child is struck with one, they can suffer broken necks or noses. A deployed airbag can hit a child at speeds of 100 to 220 miles per hour resulting in their death on impact.
How to Prevent Injury in a Car Accident Involving a Child
There are a few things that you as a parent or caregiver can do to give your child the most amount of protection while riding in a vehicle. You never know when an accident will take place, so it’s best to be as prepared as possible.
First of all, if your little one needs to be in a car seat or booster, be positive that the seat is properly installed. You shouldn’t be able to move the seat more than an inch in any direction when pushing, pulling, or yanking on it. If you aren’t sure if your seat is installed correctly, you can visit your local law enforcement, hospital, or fire station and the professionals there can assist you in most areas.
Your child should be strapped in tightly to their belt. There is a chance that they are going to show discomfort because they think it is too tight. However, safety should always trump comfort. Never put blankets or bulky coats on a child before strapping them in. Those should go over the harness.
Finally, don’t try and turn your child around too soon. Reports from the American Academy of Pediatrics say that you should leave toddlers in rear-facing car seats until the age of two or even longer whereas it was age one before. They state that you should leave kids facing backward as long as they fall under the weight and height restrictions for the seat they are in as it is the safest way to ride. The neck, spine, and head are much better protected in this position.
You aren’t going to be able to always keep your child safe. What you can do is educate yourself on how to do the best job possible, especially when they are riding in a vehicle. If you aren’t sure what to do with a toddler after a car accident, your best bet is to take them to your local hospital or doctor for a complete evaluation. Depending on the injuries that occurred, your child may benefit from seeing a chiropractor as a way to recover from their injuries in a safe, natural, and effective way. It is easy to find a chiropractor for car accident injuries as most doctors often see patients after car accidents to help with recovery.
About Dr. Brent Wells
Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. has been a chiropractor for over 20 years and has treated thousands of patients. He founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in Alaska in 1998 and is a member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians. Dr. Wells is also the author of over 700 online health articles that have been featured on sites such as Dr. Axe and Lifehack. He continues his education to remain active and updated in all studies related to neurology, physical rehab, biomechanics, spine conditions, brain injury trauma, and more.
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Benjamin, M. M., & Roberts, M. W. (2012, April). Fatal aortic rupture from nonpenetrating chest trauma. Retrieved November 12, 2018, from US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3310507/
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