Have you ever stopped to consider what would happen to your child in a car crash? While it is not a pleasant thing to contemplate, it can be a useful reminder to drive with extra caution. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are catastrophic injuries that could occur in a car wreck. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle accidents account for a quarter of all TBIs.

TBIs occur when something hits the head, when the head hits something or when the head is thrown forward with sufficient force that the brain impacts the inside of the skull . These are the ways a TBI could happen in a car crash:

  • Your child is not strapped in and flies forward, hitting the windscreen or back of the seat.
  • They are not strapped in and are thrown from the car, hitting their head on the ground.
  • Their head is whipped forward violently with the impact of the collision.
  • A loose object flies through the air and hits their head.

Securing things inside your car, including your children, is therefore vital:

  • Child seats. Use the correct size to prevent too much movement of the head in a crash.
  • Seatbelts. Ensure they are correctly worn. Children tend to drop the strap off their shoulders to lie down across the rear seat, but the waist part alone does not provide the same security.
  • Dogs. Secure with a canine seatbelt or put them in the rear behind a dog guard to avoid them becoming a flying object that could harm you or your child.
  • Loose objects. Store bags and other items securely.

If you are unfortunate to be in a car crash with your child, be sure to get them checked at an emergency facility. You may think they are fine, but a TBI might not present until some time afterward. If you do have a crash, do not accept the insurers’ offer until you are sure your child is ok.