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Steps to take after an accident with your baby in the back

Parenting a new baby isn't easy, even if you have already raised a few children. Things change rapidly and you are likely constantly worried about your child’s safety and well-being.

Traveling in a vehicle can seem like one of the simplest and safest things, as baby car seats have design features intended to help your little one travel safely. However, motor vehicle collisions remain a leading cause of injury and death for all children under the age of 18. If you experience a crash with your infant in the back, there are certain steps that you should take.

Don't assume your baby is okay

If the accident was serious enough to cause major damage to your vehicle or leave any other passenger with an injury, your infant could also be severely injured. You don't want to assume that your baby is fine because they aren't currently crying.

Babies can't necessarily vocalize how they feel, and as with adults, an adrenal response to the crash could mask the baby's pain or symptoms. See your family physician as soon as possible to assess any injuries. Pay attention to symptoms later on as well, like ongoing crying, unusual lethargy or other changes in behavior.

Take immediate action after the crash

If your infant has clearly suffered severe injuries, you may not want to wait to file a police report. In that situation, contact emergency responders and ask for transportation to the nearest trauma care center or hospital.

Providing information about yourself and the crash while on the phone call helps ensure that law enforcement officers can contact you after you leave the scene, if necessary. While it is generally illegal to leave the scene of a crash, leaving to seek immediate medical care for an infant is a reasonable exception to that rule, in most cases.

Understand that injuries can have a lifelong impact

Broken bones or head injuries are common issues after a car accident. Unfortunately, these can be much more serious in infants and young children. This is, in part, because younger children and babies can't report the problematic symptoms they may experience due to a brain injury. Such an injury could also impact their ability to learn and pick up new information as they grow.

Even broken bones could damage their growth plate and require more intensive medical treatment. As with any emergency situation involving small children, staying calm and reacting swiftly will always benefit you and the child who depends on you to make decisions on their behalf.

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