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Parenting Archive

Helping your child cope after a crash

crash sceneHundreds of thousands of children are involved in MVCs (Motor Vehicle Crashes) each year. The lucky ones, and the ones who are optimally restrained in an appropriate safety seat, may walk away with nothing more than bumps, bruises and a good scare.  Depending on the circumstances, others may not be so lucky. But regardless of whether the child was injured or not, being involved in a crash can be a terrifying ordeal for children. As someone who has survived two bad crashes, I can attest to how terrifying it really is – even for an adult. Unfortunately, I also understand that the fear and terror of the event don’t always fade away when the bruises do. It’s so important for parents and caregivers to be on the lookout for signs of traumatic stress in the weeks (and even months) following a crash. A little anxiety, maybe a few nightmares and some generally clinginess after the accident is very common and should be expected. It’s also common (and understandable) for the child to be reluctant to get back in the car.  However, since walking everywhere isn’t an option for most parents – this can be a real dilemma. We need to respect our children’s fears and emotions, and we certainly don’t want to traumatize them any further, but we also need them to get back in the car. For children who are non-verbal or have limited communication skills, it can be even trickier to address the underlying issues and calm their fears.  

Since every child and every set of circumstances is different, no one can claim to have all the magic answers. However, this wonderful website AfterTheInjury.org from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) can provide much needed information and guidance to help children after a traumatic event or injury. It can also help parents to differentiate between typical, normal reactions and those that may be a red flag indicative of traumatic stress. I’m so pleased that this site exists now. I believe it’s an area that really needs more attention and parents need more and better ways to support their children in the emotional healing process after a crash.

Milestones

My just-turned-7 yr old is a 1st class nag.  No, no need to wonder where she got that from :/ but nagging is annoying enough that it eventually does make the recipient move into action just to make it stop, right?

She’s been after me for a while now about sitting in her harnessed Britax Frontier.  I like this seat.  The harness adjuster is smooth as butter and I like that she’s still harnessed.  It’s more secure should we get into a crash, especially if it’s one of those nasty side impacts.  Perhaps one of the reasons she’s such a nag at me is because I nag at her to get into her seat and buckle up.  She is so slow.  I’ve accused her of being a snail.  She just laughs.  We were late to school more often than not last year because of the amount of time it took for her to get into the van and get buckled.  And before you nag at me to build more time into my morning schedule ;) , I did.

Not Solving the Seat Belt Problem at Schools

So much time spent educating.  Three events scheduled at my kids’ school to stop vehicles and assess whether kids were buckled up in the back seat.  Education and positive reinforcement passed along.  Three events evidently worth nothing.  I try not to get too jaded: despite my Type A personality, I have a very much live and let live philosophy of life.  However, when I’ve spent so much of my time educating my peers and my kids’ friends on the dangers of sitting in the front seat and not wearing seat belts, I get mad.  Did they not learn anything?

What Does A Good CPS Tech Do?

I frequently read posts on various parent forums from moms and dads who have taken their vehicles and car seats to child passenger safety technicians to be inspected or installed.  They seem to either have glowing reviews of the tech with whom they worked or they were fuming about something the tech did or didn’t do.  So let’s go through the steps a good tech will take with a parent to ensure the car seat is installed and used properly.

Safety Bug

When did the safety bug bite you?  I’m guessing you’re here reading the blog because somewhere along the line you became interested in seat belts or vehicle safety or your child’s safety.  But have you always been a safety-minded individual or did something happen to make you that way?