Stress after an accident: how to help a child

Nightmares, crying and constant fear. Your baby is recovering from strong experiences – you recently had an accident. How to help your child?

Perhaps nothing serious happened, but the child was frightened by the very fact of the blow, broken glass and a small cut on his father’s arm. However, this is more than enough for an impressionable baby to remember for a long time and constantly reproduce the incident in his memory.

We are no longer talking about a serious accident when children go to the hospital. One thing is clear – in both cases, the child needs the care of relatives and constant support.

What is post-traumatic stress disorder

Before proceeding to the treatment of a tender child’s soul, let’s deal with this concept. The syndrome occurs when we are at immediate risk of loss of life or health. It can be caused by a car accident, fire, flood, kidnapping, rape.

After a severe shock, specific symptoms appear – fear, irritability, avoidance of situations associated with a traumatic experience, re-experiencing a stressful situation, nervousness, crying, difficulty falling asleep, nightmares or insomnia.

If you notice similar symptoms in your child, he needs to provide all possible psychological assistance.

Stress in a child after a car accident – how to help

No one has such a significant influence on the child as his parents, but if communication with them is not yet possible, other close relatives or friends with whom the child’s parents spend a lot of time can calm him down. Use all distractions – constant communication, hugs, games, walks on playgrounds.

Try to protect from new experiences, walk in places already familiar to the child. Allow the young victim to express his feelings, calmly answer all questions. Forget the sentences: “Don’t think about it anymore.”

The more the baby talks about what happened, the faster he will get rid of emotions and stress. Reassure the child that his feelings and thoughts are normal. If the return to the situation is permanent, do not prevent it.

When a car accident resulted in nothing but a wrecked car and nothing else, each time say something like this: “I know you were scared of the accident, we were scared too, but nothing serious happened.” In this way, you will respect the feelings of the child, while at the same time making sure that this situation is a thing of the past. Do not forbid crying – tears bring relief.

After severe stress, fear of the future may appear. Expecting a repeat of the situation is quite normal. Now it needs to be explained that accidents are very rare and unlikely to happen again.

When the father returns from work, tell the child that nothing bad happened to him on the way. Also, explain why road accidents are rare. Show that there are precautionary safety measures – traffic police officers on the roads, traffic rules, seat belts.

If the child says that he is afraid, do not force him to get into the car. Recovery should be slow and gentle. To ease fear, you can play with cars, draw friendly smiling cars, watch happy movies on this topic. Then you can come closer, look inside the car through the glass at the toys left there.

To make the child feel safer, remind him of the happy moments spent in the vehicle, for example, how you sang together, played together, went to the sea or attractions with the whole family.

Come up with a happy ending to the story together – “the car was going very fast, but turned onto another street, and we calmly continued on our way.”

If, despite your efforts, the symptoms of anxiety increase, be sure to consult a psychologist. Using the right techniques, a specialist will help your child cope with the symptoms of stress after a car accident.