Parents do everything they can to keep their children safe. However, sadly, there are some instances in which parents can't do this. One of these occurs when another driver crashes into your vehicle. Your first thought when this happens will be for your young child who is in the car seat in the backseat of the vehicle. Be sure to contact 911 to get help to scene right away.
Here are four other points to remember if you and your child are involved in a car crash:
Think twice before you move your child
As a parent, your first instinct might be to scoop your child up after an accident so you can check for injuries. This might not be a good idea. If you are involved in a moderate to severe crash, leaving your child in the car seat might be the best thing to do. Try to comfort your child as best as you can until paramedics arrive to assess him or her.
Seek medical care for your child
Even if you don't think your child is harmed, you should still seek medical care. A trip to the emergency room might not be necessary. You might be able to just take your child to the pediatrician's office.
After any accident, having a doctor check your child for signs of a brain injury is important. Brain injuries are hard to diagnose and may not present until days after the accident. It's best to be safe and have a doctor evaluate your child and tell you what to look for in the days that follow.
Let your child's caregivers know about the accident
Anyone who will watch your child while you aren't present should be told about the accident in the days after. Let them know that they must watch for signs of injuries that might show up. If they notice anything, such as vomiting or excessive sleepiness, they should let you know right away so you can get your child to the hospital or doctor immediately.
Replace the car seat
Check the manufacturer's recommendations for car seat replacement after an accident. Britax, for example, recommends that you replace a car seat for all but minor accidents. Evenflo recommends that car seats are replaced after any accident. Typically, a minor accident wouldn't require the car seat to be replaced. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration considers an accident minor if all of the following points are met:
- No injuries occurred
- The door closest to the car seat wasn't damaged
- The car could be driven after the crash
- No airbags deployed
- The car seat isn't damaged
A moderate to severe accident likely requires the car seat to be replaced. Replacing the car seat is usually a good idea if you have any doubts about the safety.