A car accident is dangerous enough as it is, but if your baby is in the car with you when someone crashes into you, it can be a nightmare scenario.
A young, preverbal infant cannot inform you if he or she is experiencing any pain. Symptoms from a severe injury may not show up right away. Furthermore, according to Stridewell, trauma can negatively affect key aspects of a child’s development, including mobility, emotion management, language and social skills in profound ways.
When you and your baby are in a car accident, there are extra steps you have to take to protect your child.
Do not move your child until first responders arrive
If your baby is crying and upset after the crash, you can try to soothe him or her verbally, but do not try to pick up your child or move him or her until the first responders arrive. If your baby has an injury to the brain or spinal cord, trying to move him or her could make it worse.
Accept medical help and follow up with a pediatrician
When the first responders arrive, they should offer you and your child medical attention at the scene, as well as transportation to the hospital via ambulance. Accept their help even if there are no obvious signs of injury as there may be a delay in symptoms.
After your child has received emergency room treatment, schedule an appointment with his or her pediatrician for a follow-up as soon as possible. Your pediatrician may be able to see your baby in the hospital, but only if he or she has treating privileges there.
Replace the car seat
Your child’s car seat may have done its job in saving your baby’s life, but now it may be too damaged to provide adequate protection. Replace it before you take your child for a ride in the car again.
Observe your child for behavioral changes that may be signs of injury after the accident. Inform all caregivers of what happened so they can watch out for signs too.