According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more children between 5 and 19 years old die from accident-related injuries than any other type of physical harm.
As many as 150 children are treated in an emergency department every hour for injuries sustained in a car crash. A car accident injury may affect a child differently than an adult, and can have a lasting impact that affects the child for the rest of his or her life.
Head Injuries in Children
The most common injuries sustained by children in motor vehicle accidents were head injuries, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- lacerations; and
- skull fractures.
However, the outcome can be so much worse for a child who suffers a traumatic brain injury (TBI) compared to an adult, particularly because children’s brains are still developing.
The effects of the brain injury may not be readily apparent, and may not appear until years later. Late-appearing and long-lasting complications can lead to a variety of neuropsychological problems. For instance, cognitive impairments can create challenges with learning and behavior. There could be impaired reasoning and judgment, along with difficulty processing information.
Thoracic Injuries in Children
Thoracic injuries are generally caused by compression of a shoulder and/or lap belt or blunt force trauma. A study published in 2012 in the Annals of Advances in Automotive Medicine looked at the differences in thoracic injuries in children and adults.
The study found that older passengers suffered more skeletal injuries like rib fractures, which the study authors hypothesize can be attributed to the greater flexibility of children’s ribs compared to adults.
The adolescents in the study often suffered lung contusions without rib fractures. In fact, as age increased, the ratio of skeletal to non-skeletal injuries increased.
Other injuries that adolescents in the study experienced include:
- collapsed lung;
- sternum fracture; and
- lung laceration.
Psychological Injuries in Children
Another important consideration are the psychological injuries that a child can suffer, especially in a serious crash. Symptoms in teenagers tend to be similar to those adults experience.
But younger children might display symptoms while playing, such as recreating the accident using toys or by drawing or coloring. Treatment is critical, as it can impact school and social situations.
Post-traumatic stress disorder isn’t something that just adults struggle with; it can become a significant problem in children and teens.
Account for Long-Lasting Impact of Child Injuries
Serious injuries could impact a child long-term, so be sure to fully account for all damages related to the child’s injuries from the car accident. This includes accounting for the child’s medical care and any psychological counseling. Filing a personal injury claim allows parents to recover compensation to help pay for these services and care.
When a child has been injured in a crash—whether in a collision on a major freeway such as I-76 just outside of Arvada or while going through an intersection—it’s beneficial to seek legal counsel. Call D.J. Banovitz at (303) 300-5060 to set up a consultation, and check out our free guide, 7 Costly Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Colorado Injury Case.