No one wants to think about getting into a car crash with their kids in the vehicle. The reality is, though, that you don't get to decide when a crash happens. Your children could be present, and they need to have an education on what to do in that situation.
A crash is traumatic and dangerous for everyone involved, but with some preparation, your child can know what to do if you get into a wreck.
1. Talk about the possibility of a crash
The first thing you should do is sit your kids down and have an age-appropriate discussion about the possibility of a car crash. Talk about how crashes happen and what to expect if one does.
2. Discuss the first steps after a crash
Once you begin a conversation on crashes, talk to your child about what happens immediately after a crash. Who will be there? What sounds will they hear? What can they expect?
Also take time to talk about what your child should do immediately following the crash. In many cases, children will be scared and are likely to cry or scream. Talk to your child about how to stay calm and let you know that he or she is hurt or safe.
3. Talk about emergency help and witnesses
In most cases, emergency help will arrive and witnesses may stay at the scene. Strangers may attempt to help your children by removing them from the vehicle or speak with them to keep them calm. Your child should be aware that "stranger danger" doesn't necessarily apply when there's a serious accident.
Also take time to explain what your children should expect if you aren't conscious. Explain how to call 911, what information to provide and to remain at the scene unless it's too dangerous to do so.
4. Explain what happens with an ambulance, the police or the firefighters
Younger children may have a fear of medical teams, firefighters or the police. It's a good idea to introduce them to these people early in their lives, so they can have a positive relationship with them. Explain what the police, medical team and firefighters look like and what to do if they see them approach.
5. Explain what happens if you or their other parent doesn't survive or can't care for a child
Finally, talk to your child about death. It's not an easy topic, but if you and your spouse don't survive a crash or are hospitalized, your child needs to know what will happen next. Will an aunt or uncle pick him or her up from the hospital? Who will provide for your child? It's important information that can make a traumatic situation easier for a child.
These are a few tips for helping your child get through a car crash. Early education can help children if they ever have to deal with this traumatizing situation.