Whether it is your newly licensed teenager or a toddler in their car seat, having a child involved in a car accident is a scary experience. You will be rightly relieved if they do not appear injured- but then what do you do? Even if your child seems okay following an accident, it is important to have them examined by a chiropractor in Atlanta to make sure nothing is happening beneath the surface. This may be especially important if your child is young and can’t properly communicate the symptoms they are experiencing.
Children’s Unique Risks
In some ways, children may have very different sets of risks when it comes to car accident injuries than adults do. They are typically in car seats or booster seats until a certain age that may provide extra protection. However, this also means the angle of their body and impact may be different and lead to different concerns.
Children’s bodies are also built differently than adult bodies. The younger a child is, the more flexible their neck is- think of an infant who cannot even support their own head’s weight. This leaves children more susceptible to spinal cord injuries and nerve damage upon impact. Additionally, children are growing all the time. This growth can worsen an injury or impede healing as the body changes around the damage. While this growth sometimes leads to faster healing, it can also cause interferences in some conditions.
Common Accident Injuries in Children
A number of injuries are likely to appear in children. Below are some examples of what chiropractors in Atlanta commonly treat.
Head and Neck Injuries
The Department of Transportation has reported head injuries to be the most common trauma found in children following car accidents. This includes traumatic brain injuries, concussions, whiplash, contusions, and skull base fractures. In severe cases, these can result in temporary or permanent developmental problems, behavioral issues, or cognitive struggles.
When children sit in the front seat, they are more likely to be injured than those who sit in the back of the vehicle. This is often because of their exposure to airbags, which can break the noses or necks of smaller-framed passengers.
Car Seat Injuries
While car seats offer a large measure of additional safety, an improperly installed or used car seat can cause specific injuries during a crash.
When a windshield or window shatters, it can cause cuts on a child’s face or body that can result in scarring. Glass also causes the risk of dental injuries and facial trauma to increase, and in severe cases, disfigurement can even be a risk.
Children may suffer from fractures in the wrist, hand, or foot after they brace for impact, or a broken pelvis due to a seatbelt. If a child is thrown from the vehicle, fractures in many other body parts are also likely. It is important to seek chiropractic care for fractures when this happens.
The tightening of restraints like seatbelts or car seat straps, or contact with the seat in front of them, can cause children to sustain thoracic injuries like rib fractures, lung problems, and internal bleeding.
Injuries that cause incapacitation include spinal cord damage, loss of limb, or nerve damage, are likely to occur after rollover accidents. Rollover accidents can also be the most fatal for children.
Even if a child doesn’t suffer from head trauma, they may begin to show signs of psychological problems because of the emotional impact of the accident. Children may need therapy for an extended period of time to deal with the mental anguish from the accident, particularly if it impacts their school work or social behavior.
Communicate With Your Child
Children may not know what to look for in the time following a car accident to tell you what problems they are experiencing, even if they are old enough to do so. They may not even notice the symptoms they are experiencing, as many of these common injuries can cause delayed symptoms and be hidden for a period of time. In the case of a small child, they may simply not be able to express their discomfort to you properly. In either case, you should watch your children carefully to document any changes in their mood, physical ability, or health.
Just like with an adult, a child should visit a chiropractor in Atlanta as soon as possible following a car accident. The chiropractors at AICA Atlanta will know what signs of injury to look for, even before symptoms might appear. After a thorough assessment, the team at AICA Atlanta can create a customized treatment plan for your child using natural chiropractic techniques to ensure they heal quickly and do not suffer long-term effects of the accident.