Injuries sustained in a car accident can be both physically and psychologically traumatic for a child. If the child luckily comes through the accident with minimal injuries, they may still suffer from psychological trauma. In severe accidents, children may suffer incapacitating injuries that can change their entire lives forever.

Incapacitating Car Accident Injuries Involving Children
Incapacitating injuries are classified as injuries that disable a person to such a degree that they are unable to function normally as they did before their injury. This can include difficulties in walking, talking, and eating normally due to injuries such as lacerations, broken bones, or head and abdominal injuries. Incapacitating injuries can have long-term effects that can make life quite stressful for both parents and the injured child.

Children are at a high risk of sustaining incapacitating injuries in a car accident. In a 2010 study conducted by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it was found that using child safety seats for children aged three and under reduced the risk of incapacitating injuries considerably. In the study sample analyzed, it was concluded that 8% of children aged seven and under who were not using any sort of restraining device suffered incapacitating injuries. This is compared to only 1% of children aged seven and under who were using restraining devices that suffered incapacitating injuries.

Type of Car Accident & Impact On Child’s Injury
The use of restraining devices such as car seats and seat belts has an impact on the severity and risk of incapacitating injuries in children. The type of car accident also affects the risk of such injuries from occurring.

In the same 2010 study conducted in the US, it was found that the incapacitating injuries occurred the most in rollover crashes. In rollover crashes, the car is impacted from all sides, thus affecting everyone in the car at almost every angle. If the child was not restrained in the rollover crash, they were at a much higher risk of sustaining incapacitating injuries. 26% of unrestrained children suffered incapacitating injuries, while only 9 – 10% of restrained children sustained the same injuries.

In car accidents that involved side or rear impact, the risk of unrestrained children sustaining injuries again was much higher than restrained children (8 % and 1 % respectively).

Restraining Devices For Minors
According to these results, incapacitating injuries can be prevented or at the least minimized by using age appropriate restraint devices such as safety car seats or seat belts. Children who were restrained either by car seats or seat belts had much less of a risk of suffering incapacitating injuries than unrestrained children. There are age appropriate restraints that must be used for children, and it is the parents’ responsibility to ensure that their child is safely secured in the vehicle before traveling.

The 2010 study has made it very clear about the real risk of children sustaining incapacitating injuries in car accidents. We cannot control the type or extremity of a car accident, but we can control how safe we keep our children. Thus, it is very important that parents take all safety measures very seriously to ensure the safety of their children.

Some Useful References Regarding Children In Motor Vehicle Collisions: