Parents’ natural desire is to keep their children safe. When you are in a car crash and your child is in the vehicle, you are going to worry about whether your child is harmed. This is understandable, but make sure to stay as calm as possible and not panic.

There are some important points that you should remember if you are ever in a crash with your child in the vehicle.

Evaluate everyone

One of the first actions to take after a collision is to evaluate everyone in the vehicle. Start with yourself; if you have suffered a catastrophic injury, you might cause more harm than good if you try to move and assist your children. After determining if you are OK, speak to your children. Ask them if they are hurt or bleeding anywhere.

Get out of the car if necessary

There is a chance that your vehicle might catch on fire after a crash. If this is likely, immediately try and exit yourself and others from the car as safely as possible. You do not want anyone getting hit by a passing vehicle.

Contact authorities

Call 911 to summon the police to the scene and any paramedics if necessary. If you or your children are not seriously hurt after the accident, it is still a good idea to seek medical attention via your regular doctor or at an urgent care.

Determine what to do with the car seat

If your child is in a car seat at the time of the crash, it might not be safe to reuse it. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists five factors that will determine if reusing a car seat is acceptable:

  1. Nobody was injured in the crash.
  2. No vehicle airbags were deployed.
  3. The door closest to the car seat wasn’t damaged.
  4. You can drive the vehicle away from the scene.
  5. The car seat doesn’t have any visible damage.

Any car seat that does not meet these five requirements should be replaced. If you have any doubts about whether the seat is in usable shape after the crash, follow your instinct and replace it. Car seats can only save a child’s life if they are structurally sound.