Nobody wants to imagine themselves in a car accident, especially with very young children in tow.
But sadly it’s an eventuality lots of parents will find themselves in – and knowing what to do in this scenario could save a child’s life.
There are around 126,200 road accidents in Britain every year, according to Compare The Market – that’s around 346 crashes each day.
A mum and former paramedic has shared some crucial advice for parents who drive and whose children use car seats.
In a post shared by the popular Instagram account Tiny Hearts, Nikki Jurcutz explained that during her time as a paramedic, she would go to car accidents with children and babies involved “all the time”.
“I realised there was a lack of knowledge from parents about what to do after a car accident,” she said.
Jurcutz urged parents not to remove their child from a car seat after a car crash – except in certain conditions, which we’ll get to in a moment.
The ex paramedic said a collision can cause brain and head injuries, neck, spinal cord, back, and internal organ injuries, as well as internal bleeding.
And these injuries can be hard for parents to recognise externally, she explained: “So your child may look completely fine on the outside, when any of these injuries could have occurred.”
Leaving your child in their car seat is advised because it can keep them “still and calm in a situation where potential spinal injuries or internal injuries have occurred, which can be life-saving”.
If it’s safe to leave your child in their car seat, she advised parents to keep calm, keep them distracted and keep them comfortable until paramedics arrive.
But there are of course instances where you would need to get your child out of the car due to further danger, such as:
- If the car was smoking
- If your child required CPR
- If they required airway management
- If they would be left in danger
- If the child was distressed, thrashing around and potentially causing more harm to themselves.
In this instance, she urged parents to unclip the entire car seat with the child still strapped in the harness, or cut the straps that are holding the car seat in, and carry your child and their car seat to safety.
If you can’t remove the car seat, remove your child from the car seat very carefully. If they are conscious, hold them still against your body to minimise movement, said Jurcutz.
But if they’re unconscious and not breathing properly, parents would need to start CPR, as the former paramedic said “CPR takes priority over a neck/spinal injury”.
“Share this information with as many parents as you can. It could save a little life,” she concluded.
“Wow I didn’t know this,” said one parent in the comments. “Such important information, thank you for sharing.”
Another added: “I would never have even thought of what to do or not do if I was in a car accident with my grand children in the car – this is so helpful. Thank you.”