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Watch for signs of emotional trauma in your child after a crash

Watch for signs of emotional trauma in your child after a crash

If you’re dealing with the aftermath of a crash caused by a reckless or negligent driver, your top priority is ensuring that you and everyone who was in the car are getting the necessary medical treatment. If your child was in the car, it’s also crucial to watch for signs of emotional trauma.

Crashes can also be traumatic for adults, of course. Don’t neglect your own emotional well-being. However, children (especially young ones) often can’t express their feelings clearly after a traumatic event. They may say little or nothing about it but have problems sleeping, develop new behavioral issues or display regressive behavior like sucking their thumb or being afraid to sleep alone.

How can you help your child’s emotional healing? Let’s look at a few things you can do.

Try to get them to express themselves

If they’re not able to talk about what happened, they might be able to express their feelings and fears through drawing. If they want to talk about it, let them. Just don’t allow them to dwell on it or catastrophize about worst-case scenarios that didn’t happen, like “I thought we were all going to die!”

Assure them it wasn’t their fault

They may have heard you tell a friend that if you hadn’t been listening to your child or looking for their doll, you’d have seen that car about to run the stop light. Even if you weren’t blaming them, they may blame themselves. Let them know that they are not at fault. 

Get them back in the car again

It’s only natural that they might fear getting in any vehicle again. Don’t put it off for too long. It’s best to start with short trips around the neighborhood or to the local ice cream shop. If it helps, let them listen to music, watch a movie in the backseat or play a game. A favorite toy may be a necessary traveling companion.

If you’re concerned that your child was highly traumatized and they don’t seem to be getting past the crash, it may be a good idea to let them talk to a therapist. You have as much right to include psychological treatment in your insurance claim as you do medical care. Don’t settle any claim until you know the full extent of your injuries and damages. Having legal guidance can help you ensure you get the justice and compensation you deserve.

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