Kids and the emotional stress of car accidents

Kids and the emotional stress of car accidents

Victims of vehicle accidents frequently suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Intense and unsettling memories of the accident come flooding back, often in the form of flashbacks and nightmares. Children are especially prone to PTSD, even after minor accidents or not at fault car accidents.

Helping kids cope

In the days and weeks after a car accident, psychologists recommend letting children talk openly and freely about the event. This can really help them to process their emotions and recover from trauma. Letting children talk means parents need to listen. They need to choose a time and a place where their child tends to open up. This could be in the backyard while kicking the footy around, or just before bedtime (when the child is trying to avoid going to bed).

Beyond talking

If your child doesn’t want to talk, try drawing pictures instead. Begin with harmless things and then move onto cars and car accidents. This may or may not trigger a conversation. Either way, it’s a valid outlet for feelings and emotions. Another effective therapy is that of play. With the aid of toys, recreate the scene of the accident. Let your child take the lead and you’ll gain insight into how he or she is dealing with things.

Of course, if your child is really struggling emotionally after a car accident, get professional help.

Sorting things out after an accident

Tedious as making a car insurance claim is, you can use it as an opportunity to teach your child something new. Explain, in simple terms, what insurance is and how it protects accident victims. If you’re required to draw a picture of the accident, show your drawing to your kids. Ask for their opinions. Use it as an occasion to talk calmly about the event.

Accident replacement vehicles

If the accident was not your fault, you may be entitled to an accident replacement vehicle. At Not My Fault, we will provide you with a like for like replacement, enabling you to carry on with your life. This can be immensely reassuring to children; they’ll understand that while accidents do happen, there are systems in place to help victims pick up the pieces and move on.

Photo: Parking by Beegee49 licensed under Creative commons 6
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