1 (440) 442-6677


Get Legal Help

Did Your Newborn Suffer Cerebral
Palsy or Another Brain Injury Before
or During Labor and Delivery?

Learn More

Our Birth Brain Injury Resource Guide

the guide

Get a FREE guide of resources available throughout Ohio to children and families of children who were born with brain injuries.

Our guide can help you build a foundation of knowledge and tools that will help you help your child
now and in the future.

Get Your Free Guide Now
Get a Free Case Evaluation

Pediatric Brain Injury in Car Accidents

Susceptibility to brain injury at birth isn’t the only risk youngsters face. Head injuries commonly occur due to falls, motor vehicle accidents, and during activities such as bicycle riding or skating.

Get A 100% Free CASE Evaluation     

A study in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect found that the angular accelerations experienced by children in a car accident are similar to those who suffer brain injury from other means. Skull fractures, contact injuries, and diffuse brain injuries were observed. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 150 children from birth to 19 years old visit emergency rooms due to motor vehicle accident injuries, many of whom have potential brain trauma.

As in a baby, the full extent of an injury isn’t always immediately known. Diagnostic tests must complement a physical evaluation, and include X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and a computed tomography scan (CT scan). Also, an electroencephalogram is used to measure electrical activity in the brain and blood tests taken to check a number of variables.

Elk & Elk

Common Types of Brain Injuries from Motor Vehicle Accidents

A few patterns have been observed in relation to car accident brain injuries. Deceleration and acceleration injuries happen when the movement between different structures varies. For example, the gray and white matter in the brain might move at different rates, causing damage, similar to how the more mobile aortic arch tends to move farther than the thoracic aorta. Direct trauma to the brain is also a possibility. Focal brain injuries involved direct impacts on the head. On the outside, the result may be a contusion, but brain lacerations and hemorrhages may be hidden below. A diffuse injury is more often caused by a sudden motion, leading to axonal injuries involving the brain cells in different regions. Secondary injuries also occur if airway obstruction leads to hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation, or something causes the blood pressure to go down, resulting in hypotension.

Preventing Auto-Related Pediatric Brain Trauma

Accidents to happen, but there are ways to protect children. Some of these include:

  • Rear-facing car seats: Buckling up a child from birth to age two in one of these keeps them secured until their size reaches the upper weight and height limits of the product.
  • Forward-facing seats: For children two to five years old, these are properly sized to keep them strapped to a seat while on the road.
  • Booster seats: Should be used from age five until a child can be buckled up in a normal seat belt.
  • Seat belts: a seat belt should properly lay across the upper thighs. The shoulder belt should go across the check and not contact the neck.

Also, children under 12 should be buckled up and sit in the rear of the vehicle. Sitting them in front of an airbag can put them at risk for injury. If possible, sit a child in the middle of the back seat to keep them as safe as possible. Pediatric brain injury can be severe in any case, and car accidents present a major risk for lifelong impairments, but fortunately your child can be protected.