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If you and your child experienced a serious car accident, it can take a lot of effort to get your life back on track. Your child will face some post-trauma damage—both mental and physical—that might be hard for them to communicate and process. Even though you will have your own medical, insurance, and psychological needs to care for, you will also need to make sure your child is on their way to recovery. Here are some things you can do to make dealing with the aftermath of an accident easier for your child.
Be aware of the signs for past-traumatic stress in children.
Car accidents can be a source of trauma for adults and children, but trauma stress symptoms often manifest differently in children. You child may:
These symptoms are serious, as children, especially young children, have trouble processing the feelings associated with traumatic events like car accidents. Therefore, they will often need to help to learn to express them in healthful ways. These often depend on the extent of the accident and the injured parties. In cases where a parent or sibling was severely injured or killed, it will take more intensive therapy. Professional counseling is often necessary.
Look for signs of physical discomfort and treat them as soon as you can.
Beyond mental health, physical health can be difficult to repair after a car accident, even if injuries seem minor. Things like whip lash, dislocated limbs, or breaks and sprains can be difficult for children, especially if they are not old enough to understand the treatment and to assess their pain level. You should look for warning signs that your child is not "back to normal", even weeks or months after the accident has passed, including:
Getting your child back on the path pf physical and mental health after a car accident is a journey that involves close observation and support of a trusted adult and several professionals, including counselors, doctors, and chiropractors.