How Does a Parent Deal with a Car Accident and a Child Complaining of Neck Pain?


Car accidents are a lot more common than you might think. More than 6 million of them take place every year.

But that doesn’t make them any less scary. Getting into a car crash can be one of the most terrifying experiences you ever go through.

It can be especially scary if you have your child in the car with you when you’re involved in a car accident. Your child might be scared beyond belief in the aftermath of the accident.

You might also have a child complaining of neck pain on your hands as a result of a car crash. Here is how you should deal with the situation if your child has lingering neck pain.

Talk to Your Child About Their Neck Pain

When your child mentions to you that they’re experiencing some neck pain following a car accident, take a few minutes to talk to them about it. Ask them questions to get a better sense of what’s wrong with their neck.

Some good questions to ask a child complaining of neck pain are:

  • “Where does your neck hurt?”
  • “Does it hurt more when you move it?”
  • “Are you in pain every now and then or all the time?”
  • “Did it hurt at all before our car accident?”

Young children aren’t always able to express themselves when they’re discussing pain. They know that they feel pain, but they don’t know how to describe what it feels like with words.

It’s why you should push your child to talk about their neck pain by peppering them with questions. You should be able to get some sense of how bad their neck pain really is through their answers.

Apply Ice to Your Child’s Neck to Reduce Swelling

While you’re talking to your child about their neck pain, look at and touch their neck to see if you notice any swelling. It’s not uncommon for a child’s neck to swell slightly after being involved in a car crash.

If you see that your child’s neck is, in fact, swollen, wrap up some ice cubes or an ice pack and have them hold it on their neck for about 20 minutes at a time. This should bring some of the swelling down and knock out any inflammation that exists in their neck area.

Some parents turn to heat when they have a child complaining of neck pain. But it’s better to go with ice for at least the first one or two days. This is the most effective way to get rid of any swelling.

Use Heat on Your Child’s Neck to Provide Relief

Once a couple of days have gone by, there is a good chance that your child’s neck will start to feel better. Their neck pain might even be completely gone in some cases.

But if they’re still having a tough time moving their head around without dealing with pain, it’ll be time for you to begin applying heat to their neck. Place either a warm compress or some kind of heating pad on their neck for about 10 minutes at a time to loosen up their muscles and provide them with pain relief.

You can also get the same result by having your child take a warm bath if you want. No matter which method you choose, your efforts should start to promote healing within your child’s body.

Give Your Child OTC Medications to See If They Help

You should not give your child any over-the-counter medications that are designed for adults. Instead, look for OTC medicines that are made for kids.

You should specifically search for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs containing ibuprofen or acetaminophen that will reduce pain and prevent inflammation from taking a toll on your child.

Take Your Child to See a Doctor

If your child is still complaining about neck pain a week or so after your car accident, you’re going to need to do more than just have them hold ice or heat on their injury. You’ll need to call on your child’s doctor for help.

A doctor can examine your child fully and see what seems to be the problem with their neck. Make sure that you tell the doctor about the car crash that you were in and explain what happened during it.

There are some common car crash injuries, like whiplash, that can cause serious neck pain in those of all ages. Children can be diagnosed with whiplash and will need to be treated accordingly.

Consider Scheduling an Appointment With a Chiropractor

If you try everything else listed here and still have a child complaining of neck pain, you might want to think about taking your child to see a chiropractor.

Find an auto injury chiropractor who specializes in treating neck pain. They can pinpoint the source of your child’s pain and work to eliminate it.

Tell Your Child to Take It Easy for a Few Weeks

Most kids are full of energy and will spend all day bouncing off the walls even when their necks hurt. This means you’ll need to convince your kids to slow down and take it easy while their neck injury heals.

You’ll also need to check on your child when they’re sleeping at night and make sure they’re not bending or twisting their neck in a way that could make their injury worse. This will help your child heal and get back to normal in no time. 

Know How to Handle a Child Complaining of Neck Pain

If you have a child complaining of neck pain after a car accident, you might be freaking out about it. But there’s no reason to lose your mind.

More often than not, a few days of icing and heating their neck will make it feel better. But if you notice that they’re not healing as quickly as you’d like, don’t be afraid to take them to a doctor or chiropractor. They can advise you and your child on what to do next.

Read our blog for more tips on what to do when your child sustains an injury.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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