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Diagnosing the Injuries of Children in a Car Accident

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Diagnosing the Injuries of Children in a Car Accident

My Child Was in a Car Accident – What Should I do?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are approximately 150,000 children that are injured each year in traffic accidents.[1] Unfortunately, that estimate is probably understated. What is the reason for the understatement? According to recent studies, small children are more susceptible to concussions and traumatic brain injuries. The symptoms are thought to be the same when a small child suffers a traumatic brain injury and when an adult suffers a traumatic brain injury. However, traumatic brain injuries can be overlooked in small children and they are difficult to diagnose. The difficulty comes because small children and babies cannot express there discomfort in the same manner as an adult.

Generally speaking, and assuming the child or baby has been properly restrained in an approved car seat, (though many parent fail in this regard) the risk of injury is greatly reduced. Typically, children suffer many of the same injuries as adults when involved in car accidents. The most common of which are:

1. Head and brain injuries;
2. Injuries to the chest and lungs;
3. Abdominal injuries;
4. Fractures to the collarbone, arms and hands; and
5. Fractures to the pelvis and legs.

After an accident it is important to closely monitor your child. Remember the in the car crash your child is susceptible to a whiplash type injury. Whiplash can cause a concussion or traumatic brain injury, but your child may not be able to articulate the symptoms effectively. Instead your baby may:

1. Vomit;
2. Cry and hold his/her head;
3. Be noticeably more cranky or irritated than usual; and
4. Be restless and unable to sleep.

If your child is exhibiting these symptoms after a car accident, you should seek a medical opinion. Remember, that sometimes the symptoms of a brain injury do not appear until hours after the accident.

How Can a Traumatic Brain Injury Affect My Child?

Until recently, medical experts thought that concussions and traumatic brain injuries long lasting effects were felt less in children than adults.[2] The reason most cited by doctors was the “plasticity” of children’s brains. We now know this to be incorrect. We know that children who suffer head injuries feel long term cognitive and emotional impairments. The problem arises because when the long term cognitive and emotional issues manifest themselves, the car wreck is a distant memory.

A child’s brain is not like a mini adult brain. The child’s brain is developing and growing. For instance, if an infant suffers a traumatic brain injury, there may be effects on higher thinking that are not noticed until the child is in school. Until recently, the brain injury and the cognitive, learning or emotional issues that arose years later were not connected.

How Can A Brain Injury in a Child be Treated?

The severity of the injury will determine the course of treatment. Some brain injuries are so severe that surgery is required. Others require only monitoring. The depressing news is that there currently is not a medical treatment to reverse a brain injury. However, large strides have been made in educating children that have suffered a traumatic brain injury. For that reason, if you believe that your child suffered a traumatic brain injury it is important to closely monitor the child’s academic and emotional progress. Depending on the type of impairment, the manner in which the child is taught may be modified so that effects of the injury are minimized.

If the child is suffering from emotional issues such as depression, low self-esteem, mood swings etc., counseling is an effective tool that may minimize the effects of the traumatic brain injury. After a brain injury the child may have some or several cognitive/emotional deficits. Unlike an adult, who is more likely to exhibit the deficits in the months following the injury, the symptoms and effects may not manifest themselves for years in children.

Contact Jones Law Group

Have you or a loved one been injured in an accident? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney at Jones Law Group today. When you contact our office we will immediately set an appointment where you will meet your attorney and be provided with his/her personal contact information. If you do not have transportation or you cannot drive, your attorney will travel to meet you and discuss your case with you in the privacy of your own home.

Whether you were a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or the occupant of car, motorcycle or boat and have been injured in an accident, you should immediately call an experienced personal injury attorney in St. Petersburg at Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.

Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Pete, FL 33707


[1] http://www.cdc.gov/Motorvehiclesafety/child_passenger_safety/cps-factsheet.html

[2] http://www.biausa.org/brain-injury-children.htm

Heath Murphy

About the Author

Heath Murphy is a partner at Jones Law Group and focuses on personal injury law. He has been working as a lawyer for 18 years and routinely writes about auto accidents, wrongful death, and personal injury laws.

Read more: Heath’s Bio