What are the Common Injuries for Children in a Car Accident?

Accident attorney

The impact of a car accident becomes even more distressing when your child is injured. It's natural to experience a sense of helplessness and uncertainty about the next steps. Not only is it crucial to ensure they receive the best possible medical care, but it's also important to pursue financial compensation to cover the expenses associated with their recovery when the accident was not your fault.

We understand what a difficult time this can be, and as a skilled car accident lawyer, we are dedicated to fighting for rightful settlements. So let us explain the typical injuries many children experience, and what laws protect minor children's personal injury claims.

Common Injuries Children Suffer in Car Crashes

A auto accident attorney will recommend that you seek immediate medical care for your child after a car accident, even if they seem uninjured. Many medical conditions can manifest symptoms days or weeks later, making a prompt physician's examination crucial. Ensuring the well-being of your child should be the utmost priority in such situations.

If your child is too young to express their emotions or communicate effectively, rest assured that the doctor has already initiated diagnostic evaluations to ensure their well-being and safeguard their health.

Typical child injuries due to car accidents include:

  • Head and neck issues. Children can experience a range of devastating injuries, including whiplash, concussion, broken neck, traumatic brain injury, and skull fractures. Among these, brain injuries can be particularly catastrophic as they have the potential to cause lasting emotional, memory, concentration, and cognitive changes.
  • Airbag impact. Most airbags deploy at a minimum of 100 mph—that's an incredible amount of sudden force. Children who have the highest risk of nose, dental, or neck injuries are those who are younger than 13 or shorter than 4 ft. 9 in.
  • Lacerations caused by glass. The tiniest of glass fragments can result in permanent scarring or disfigurement.
  • Chest injuries. Children are at risk of experiencing severe injuries such as broken ribs, collapsed or punctured lungs, or internal bleeding due to the impact of collisions, tight restraints, or the failure to use seat belts altogether.
  • Fractures. Severe fractures to a child's wrist, legs, arms, pelvis, or other bones are frequently observed in car accidents. Although some children make a complete recovery, others may face enduring restrictions in their mobility, significantly impacting their daily activities and overall quality of life.
  • Spinal injuries. Severe impact or being forcefully thrown out of the vehicle can lead to spinal cord injury, resulting in either partial or complete paralysis.
  • Psychological trauma. Experiencing trauma from an accident and managing severe medical conditions can lead to nightmares, sleep disturbances, anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions.

Factors that Affect the Severity of Car Crash Injuries in Children

Not all car accidents involving children are equal in severity. Here are descriptions of certain factors that can exacerbate the impact of an accident on a child.

Rollover Accidents

Rollover accidents pose a grave threat to both children and adults, as the vehicle overturns, placing them in extreme danger. Shockingly, a staggering 10% of children involved in such accidents sustain catastrophic injuries. It is important to note that vehicles with elevated centers of gravity, particularly SUVs, are at a higher risk of rolling over.

Lack of Appropriate Child Restraint

Using a child restraint is not sufficient; it is crucial to select the appropriate one, position it correctly, and fasten it securely. In rollover accidents, less than 10% of individuals with child restraints sustain severe injuries, whereas 30% of unrestrained children are affected.

Front Seat Rides

It is of utmost importance to never allow a small child to ride in the front seat of a car. This simple precaution can make a significant difference in preventing serious injuries during a car accident. Placing a child in the front seat doubles their risk of harm, and the consequences of this mistake become even more severe for younger children. Let's prioritize the safety and well-being of our little ones by ensuring they ride in the appropriate seating position.


While airbags have undoubtedly saved numerous lives, it's important to acknowledge their potential to cause harm to children seated in the front. When an airbag inflates, it undergoes a forceful explosion that is intended to safeguard adults, not children. The impact of an airbag on a child is akin to a forceful blow to the face. Consequently, injuries to the face, head, and neck are common when an airbag deploys in close proximity to a child's face.

Car Seats

When purchasing a child's car seat, exercising caution is crucial as not all of them are designed or manufactured appropriately. In the unfortunate event of child car seat injuries, even after proper installation and securing your child in it, it is worth considering the possibility of pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against the car seat manufacturer.

Side-Impact Crashes

When a child is properly restrained, the likelihood of serious injuries in a side-impact crash that doesn't result in a rollover is significantly reduced. However, if the child is unrestrained, the risk increases exponentially as a side impact can toss their body around like a helpless rag doll.

Rear-End Crashes

While being rear-ended with a child in the car is usually not fatal or catastrophic, it can lead to a range of concerning injuries. Whiplash, soft tissue injuries, and concussions are particularly common and can cause significant pain. The tricky part is that symptoms may not manifest until hours or even days after the accident. It's important to be aware of these potential injuries and seek medical attention if any symptoms arise.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents

Children frequently endure devastating injuries in car accidents, occasionally even when properly restrained by adults. Now, envision the dire ramifications of a child being struck by a car or bicyclist while innocently playing in the street. The alarming truth is that the fatality and catastrophic injury rates are astoundingly high.

How to Protect Your Child in a Car Crash

Ensuring car safety for children involves unique considerations compared to car safety for adults. The safety of infants in vehicles is of utmost importance due to the increased risk of bone fractures during car accidents. Given their relatively softer bones compared to adults and older children, a bone fracture can have devastating consequences, and in some cases, even prove fatal. Here are some safety tips for children:

  • Invest in the most secure vehicle available to ensure your safety on the road.
  • Ensure you purchase the appropriate car seat that matches your child's height and weight. Take the time to install it diligently, following the provided instructions.
  • Always place your child in a restraining seat and make sure it has been fastened properly.
  • Do not place the child in bulky clothing before fastening the car seat. If necessary, put a blanket over your child and keep a bulky jacket for your child to use later.
  • Don’t let your child ride in the front seat.
  • Ideally, your child should sit in the middle of the rear seat. Children involved in car accidents are safest in this position.
  • Place children under 24 months in a rear-facing car seat.
  • Ignore your children while you are driving, because fussing over them can distract you. Bring another caretaker with you if you have to.
  • Don’t drive all night with children in the car. You could fall asleep at the wheel.

It also wouldn’t hurt to place a “Baby on Board” sign in a location that is visible to other drivers.

Get Help From an Experienced Car Accident Attorney

We understand that nothing is more crucial than ensuring the safety of your children. However, in the unfortunate event of an accident, it is your responsibility to pursue complete compensation for your child. Responding assertively to injuries caused by child car accidents is the most effective way to discourage reckless drivers from engaging in such dangerous behavior again.

The personal injury lawyers at Strong Law can help. Our decades of combined trial experience and our stellar track record of success at the negotiating table can bring your child justice by maximizing the value of their claim.