Signs and Symptoms of Pediatric Emotional Injury


Signs and Symptoms of Pediatric Emotional Injury

Being in a car accident can be frightening for anyone. But, as a parent, when you are involved in an accident and your children are in the car, it can be even more so. Not only do you have to worry about the aftermath of the crash, which includes damage to the car and injuries sustained by anyone in your vehicle, but you also have to contend with any emotional stress that may have impacted your kids. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, it is important to know some of the signs and symptoms of emotional injury so you can get help promptly.

Ages 5 and under

This is a particularly frightening time to be involved in a auto accident. Some of the signs and symptoms children of this age experience include fear of being separated from parents, crying, inability to move, aimless motion, excessive clinginess to a parent, and trembling. Children can also regress to old habits from when they were younger including bed wetting and thumb-sucking. In younger children you need to look for changes or be mindful of changes you see as your child may not come to you and say “Mom I am feeling … After the car accident.

Ages 6-11

Children in this age group who have been in car accidents often withdraw from their normal daily activities, become disruptive and often cease paying attention. This is also often different from their normal behavior. They may also have associated nightmares, sleep problems, and irrational fears.

What are the Symptoms of an Emotional Injury?

Symptoms of emotional injuries at this age include regressive behaviors, outburst of anger, and refusal to go to school. Other signs to look for include fighting, complaints of stomachaches and other illnesses that have no medical basis, and a decline in schoolwork. Occasionally, children of this age who have been in a car accident will also suffer from feelings of guilt, anxiety, or emotional numbness. Again children in this age group are not likely to associate problems with the car accident or bring them up to you as their parent or guardian.

Ages 12-17

At his age, children begin to experience symptoms of emotional injury similar to the way adults do. They have flashbacks or nightmares. They may also feel emotionally numb and may even try to avoid any remembrances of the details of the accident. They may sink into a depression and can often turn to substance abuse as a means of coping with the situation. Other signs or symptoms to look for include having problems with friends, feelings of isolation, physical complaints that have no medical basis, antisocial behavior, truancy and a decline in educational performance, and feelings of guilt.

Emotional Injury After Car Accident

Emotional injury after a car accident is real and can be just as harmful as any physical injuries. As a parent you need to be mindful of the possibilities and look for the signs and symptoms mentioned. If you are concerned that your child may be suffering from emotional injury due to a car accident, get help as quickly as possible. Although the initial reactions that come along with a car accident can be gone, your child may still need help to get through it.

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