Common Injuries to Children from Car Accidents


The Devastating Impact of Car Crash Injuries on Children

Tens of thousands of children under the age of 12 are injured in car accidents each year in the United States. Injuries can range in severity, but even minor collisions can have a lasting mental and physical impact on a child.

At Bishop & Hayes, we represent individuals who have been hurt in car accidents throughout Missouri, Oklahoma, & Kansas. Unlike most other firms, we only practice auto accident recovery. Our mission is to provide our clients with unparalleled legal representation. We help families maximize damages so they get the compensation they deserve. 

If you or your loved one was injured in a car accident, contact our office at (417) 304-3228 to book a free consultation. There are never any fees unless we win!

Child Car Accident Statistics

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children. In a single year, over 90,000 children under the age of 12 were injured, and over 600 children died in car accidents in the U.S. Tragically, many of these accidents were preventable.

Research indicates that of the children involved in auto accidents:

  • Over 60% of those killed were using a restraint (seat belt, car seat, or booster seat) at the time of the crash (CDC).
  • 23% of child-passenger deaths involved alcohol-impaired driving (CDC).
  • Around 17% of the children killed in traffic accidents are pedestrians (NHTSA).
  • 4% of child traffic fatalities occur while the child is riding a bicycle, tricycle, or other non-motorized, two-wheel bike (NHTSA).

Children are highly susceptible to severe injury or death, even if the crash occurs at a low speed. If your child is involved in an auto accident, you need to seek treatment immediately. 

It may be challenging to determine the extent of the injuries immediately after the incident. A licensed physician can help look for harm that may not be readily apparent.

Types of Injuries Suffered by Children

The type of injury suffered by a child in a car accident can vary greatly depending on their height, weight, seat position, and where they were seated in the vehicle. While some injury risk factors are controllable, such as restraint use, many are not. 

Head Injuries

Head injuries are the most common type of harm suffered by children in car accidents. Because a child’s brain is still in development, any injury to the head can cause a debilitating disability.

Common head injuries in children caused by car accidents:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Cerebrum injuries (contusions or lacerations)
  • Concussions/unconsciousness
  • Skull base fractures
  • Hemorrhages and hematomas

In a child, a head injury can affect nearly every aspect of their life. Depending on the severity of the injury, the child may need lifelong medical care and treatment. 

If your child has been diagnosed with a head injury as the result of a car accident, contact our office to discuss your right to recovery. 

Thoracic Injuries

Auto accidents are one of the leading causes of thoracic injuries to children. Thoracic injuries are any trauma to the chest wall. Blunt trauma to the chest can result in damage to the lungs, airways, esophagus, and more.

Types of thoracic injuries include:

  • Rib fractures
  • Lung injuries
  • Thoracic cavity injuries
  • Contusions and lacerations
  • Sternal fractures
  • Scapular fractures
  • Internal bleeding

Damage to the chest and lungs can result in severe complications. Children can experience excruciating pain and respiratory distress if they suffer chest trauma during an auto accident. 

Neck Injuries

The head and neck are prone to injury when there is a sudden impact, such as a car crash. Whiplash is a common neck injury suffered during a rear-end collision and can result in intense, chronic pain. 

Spinal cord injuries in children are one of the most devastating types of harm caused by auto accidents. Damage to the spine can result in temporary or permanent paralysis. 

In some instances, a deployed airbag can break a young child’s neck in the front passenger seat.


It is not unusual for even a minor collision to result in a fracture or broken bones. Fractures can be caused by several things, including when a child braces for impact, due to a restraint, or if a child is ejected from the vehicle.

Typical fractures in children involved in car accidents:

  • Humerus and upper arm fractures
  • Broken clavicle
  • Broken ribs
  • Thigh fractures
  • Broken pelvis
  • Facial fractures
  • Wrist and hand fractures

While many broken bones can heal by being set and cast, some require multiple surgeries and years of physical therapy. 

Facial Lacerations

Shattered glass is one of the leading causes of facial lacerations during a car accident. Broken glass can cause permanent scarring as well as damage to a person’s eyes, nose, and throat. 

Deep lacerations can result in disfigurement, which can be both physically and psychologically painful for a child.

Permanent Disability

When a child is involved in a serious accident, such as a rollover or high-speed collision, there is a greater chance that they will suffer a catastrophic injury. Catastrophic injuries can be life-threatening or result in a permanent disability.

Examples of permanent disabilities include:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Nerve damage
  • Loss of limb
  • Blindness

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, your child might be entitled to receive compensation for their injuries. Compensation can help cover the extraordinary cost of medical care and treatment that come with permanent disabilities.

Psychological Impairment

A less obvious but still traumatizing injury children suffer in auto accidents is psychological impairment. Children may have emotional and mental anguish related to the collision that should be addressed by a licensed professional.

Was Your Child Injured in an Auto Accident?

If your child was injured in a car accident, contact Bishop & Hayes for a free consultation. All cases are handled by a partner with the firm. Call (417) 304-3228 to discuss your rights after an auto accident and your ability to recover damages.

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