There’s no question about it: Car wrecks are terrifying — but it’s even worse if your baby or toddler is in the car with you at the time.
Here’s how to handle the situation:
1. Check your condition out first.
You can’t help your child until you help yourself. If you’re seriously hurt, moving too much to check on your child could make your injuries worse.
2. Do not take your child out of the car seat.
If you’re reasonably okay, you can comfort your child and examine them for injuries, but that’s all. Let the emergency medical technicians handle removing your child from the car seat.
3. Call the police and file a report.
Even if you think everyone is okay, the potential for a hidden injury is huge. You need a police report on the incident to protect your rights later.
4. Watch your child carefully.
Over the next few days, watch your child for the signs of a hidden injury. Remember: Even broken bones aren’t always obvious in young children. Symptoms that need to be checked out include:
- Vision, speech or hearing issues
- Loss of interest in toys or playtime
- Lack of appetite or vomiting
- Problems sleeping or unexplained drowsiness
- Inconsolable crying or fussiness that’s unusual
As a parent, you’re in a unique position to know what’s normal for your child and what isn’t. Trust your instincts. If you suspect a problem, take your child for an evaluation.
5. Get a new car seat.
Unless the accident was extremely minor, it’s recommended that you get a new car seat after a crash. The accident could have damaged the old seat in some way that will make it fail later.
If your child was hurt in a car accident, you may be facing a long recovery period that will affect your entire family. Find out what it takes to get fair compensation for your losses.