Children in Car Accidents
There are very significant differences in children and adults. If you are involved in a car accident, do not make the mistake of assuming that because you may not be in pain or hurting that:
1. You are not injured
2. Other passengers in the car will have equivalent injuries or lack of injuries. What you are doing and how you are sitting during a car accident has an impact on the type and severity of injuries or whiplash you will sustain.
3. Kids “heal” quickly so they don’t need chiropractic care.
4. Kids are less likely to be injured.
It absolutely baffles me the number of people that come in for whiplash induced injuries or car accident injuries who completely ignore the well-being of any children that were in the same accident. Kids often have even more of a potential for injury. This isn’t always the case but it’s a consistent trend and should be addressed; in the hopes that I can shed some light on why whiplash induced injuries in kids are a serious issue and not be ignored.
The misconception is that kids are more flexible and somehow less prone to injury. Therefore don’t need to be examined if they aren’t complaining of pain. There are a couple problems with that assumption.
1. Children cannot accurately articulate how they are feeling.
It’s easy to forget what it was like when we were kids. There are many adults who don’t have the communication skills to express what is going on with their bodies. Don’t assume that children are just small adults. Chiropractors, dentists, medical doctors, etc. don’t treat children the same way as adults. Do NOT shrug off the possibility of injuries from whiplash in a child. Injuries in car accidents are extremely common and are often the source of a patient’s neck pain, headaches, migraines, back pain, low back pain, etc. that were NEVER addressed when it happened.
An alarming number of patients that come into my Greenville, NC office, and many other chiropractor offices, have symptoms that stem from car accidents or injuries from whiplash from years prior to them actually receiving treatment and sometimes their symptoms do not emerge until months or years later. By that time it is a much more difficult injury for their chiropractor to correct. Do not expect children in a car accident to understand the importance of chiropractic treatment when many of their parents have no idea.
2. Children do not have the muscle mass that grown adults do to protect them.
The same principle is true of many women and the elderly. Your muscles have a certain amount of tone that keeps you from just falling over even though you’re not thinking about sitting up or standing up all the time. As a chiropractor, we base much of our treatment and rehab around these postural ideals. A good structural chiropractor will prescribe specific isometric stabilization therapies to help balance these muscles and make sure that the patients’ postural tone supports an ideal spinal position.
Many children are not fully developed and do not have or necessitate the amount of muscle that a fully grown adult does. They are smaller, weaker and do not have the overall strength or muscle tone of an adult. As a result, it is very easy for them to get undergo a whiplash-induced injury. Don’t misunderstand. Children are not necessarily going to have symptoms or neck pain or headaches more commonly. They can have these whiplash induced injuries and not experience or not be able to communicate their pain and experience. This makes is exponentially more important for children to visit a chiropractor for an exam following a car accident.