Ensuring your child's safety in a car accidentCar accidents are always stressful. You see the inevitable approaching in the rear-view mirror, brace yourself for the crunch, endure a few seconds of shock – and then prepare yourself for hours (if not days) of the stress, emotions and bureaucracy that come with a crash.
The way we respond to car accidents has a lot to do with instinct. As a parent, then, you’re bound to think first and foremost of your child’s well-being, should you ever be in an accident together. Statistics seem to indicate that there is genuine cause for concern. According to the ABC, car accidents are the most prominent cause of injuries and deaths for children aged less than 14 years.
In part, this is because many parents don’t following laws and guidelines about child restraints. In Australia, parents are subject to legislation which dictates that children should be in car-seats until they’re at least seven years old. New research from late last year, written about by the ABC, advocates the use of seats until the child is twelve years of age. Rear-facing seats and capsules are also highly recommended, though they usually only work for children of a young age.
Whenever possible, children should be seated in the back of the car. This is because air bags, fitted for adult-sized bodies, can inflict serious damage on kids. Admittedly, the advice surrounding child restraints, capsules and carseats is complex and occasionally contradictory. Your best bet is to ask a retail specialist for advice after doing some online research of your own.
In terms of actually dealing with the crash, the best mantra to keep in mind is “stay calm”. After taking a few deep breaths, check that you’re children aren’t seriously injured, and then quickly reassure them. If you’re in any doubt, call for police and/or an ambulance. Then, assuming the situation is safe, exit the car and help your children out. If you have any suspicions of spinal injures, though, leave them be: the paramedics should be on hand soon.
Once the situation has (presumably) calmed down, you can exchange details with anybody else involved in the incident. Remember to document the incident – if possible, take a few photographs. After the immediate, pressing matters have been dealt with, there are other things you might want to look at, like finding someone to repair your chipped windscreen in Sydney.
You might think that businesses like First Choice Glass only deal with domestic outfitting, such as the provision of splashbacks in Sydney. However, they also offer important Emergency Glass Services that will help to rectify damage from any car accident, and help to prevent any futher damage to your health and that of your child. Another thing to think about once the immediate concerns have been dealt with could be the need to replace the car-seats in the vehicle.
The toll of a car accident isn’t always physical, of course. The stress and trauma associated with a crash can prove taxing for children and adults alike.
Be aware that your children are likely to be a bit shaken up for the next few days – reassure them regularly, and try to adopt a ‘back on the horse’ approach when it comes to getting back in the car. Encourage your children to talk about the accident and the emotions they associate with it. If necessary, also consider taking them to see a counselor.
Lastly, make sure that you also look after yourself. In order to give your child the support they’ll need, you need to take the time to deal with the incident yourself.