It’s difficult and painful to watch your children suffer after they’ve been hurt to any degree, but car accident injuries are the worst. Kids are tough, but they still feel pain like anyone else.

Kids frequently experience severe injuries in car accidents. For example, after an accident in Georgia, two kids had to be airlifted to a local hospital after being rear-ended.

What do you do when your child is hurt in a car accident? That depends on the severity of their injuries. If their injuries are minor scrapes, cuts, or bruises, they’ll heal quickly and you can move on with your life. 

However, if their injuries are more severe, you’ll want to take a different route.

1. Seek immediate medical attention fast

If you haven’t already gone to the emergency room or a doctor, make an appointment as soon as possible. It’s usually better to go through the ER since your child will be seen faster, even though the wait time might be long.

Waiting to see a doctor after experiencing severe injuries creates two problems. One, putting off medical attention can exacerbate an injury such as a broken foot or other part of the body that your child might further injure. And two, putting off medical attention is a red flag to insurance companies.

Insurance companies scrutinize injured parties’ actions

Your actions will be scrutinized by the at-fault driver’s insurance company (or your own if you’re in a no-fault state). When someone waits to seek medical help, an insurance company views that as the individual not needing medical care, which will give them reason to deny or devalue your claim.

Don’t wait to get your child to a doctor, even if you can manage their injuries at home. Even if you’re a nurse or a doctor and you have all the medical supplies at home to help your child, get them seen by a third-party doctor right away.

2. Provide comfort

Kids need comfort when they’ve been injured. Sometimes kids feel pain more deeply than adults.

Injuries are not only physically painful, but they can be emotionally painful as well. Sometimes severe injuries can frighten a child and make them even more upset.

For serious injuries, you’ll need to do more than just kiss their boo-boo. The best thing you can do for your injured child is tend to their needs and distract them as much as possible. Bring them meals in bed, cancel their chore schedule, and bring them their favorite treats.

Distract your child with movies and let them play video games all night long if it helps them forget about their pain. You can also play board games, tell stories around the dinner table, or play silly games.

3. Stay calm

Don’t freak out. When you’re calm, your child won’t have any visible reason to become anxious. If you show severe concern around your child, they’ll pick up on that and may start to become anxious and scared.

4. Release guilt

It’s normal to feel guilt when your child has been severely injured. It can be especially hard if you were with your child when they were injured. You might be thinking about how you could have prevented the accident, but didn’t.

It’s hard to see your child in pain, but don’t allow yourself to be swallowed by guilt. Accidents happen outside of your control and hindsight is always 20/20.

5. Learn first-aid

If you don’t already know first-aid, make it a point to learn. This way, if your child becomes injured in the future, you’ll be able to help them while you’re waiting for paramedics to arrive.

Learning first-aid is beneficial for others, too, not just your kids. It’s an important life-saving skill that everyone should learn.

6. Take care of yourself, too

When you’re a caregiver or parent, it’s so easy to forget about your own needs. Naturally, you’ll put your child ahead of your needs, but if you aren’t fully functional, you’ll struggle to care for your injured child.

Find a nice balance between caring for your child and caring for yourself. You’re going to be under extra stress, so schedule a massage or another type of therapy you enjoy.

Remember to take care of your emotional needs as well. It’s stressful taking care of an injured child. Talk to someone if you need to, or just take time to meditate each day to release your stress, worry, and fear.

Focus on recovery

Focus your time and energy on your child’s recovery. They’re counting on you to be strong for them.