Earlier this week I was involved in a car accident. It wasn’t a major one, it was just an accident as I was on the way to school – like pretty much like any other day. I was driving along and Edie started to cry so I looked up into my rear view mirror – habit I guess, it’s something I always do if I hear a noise behind me, despite the fact that you can’t see the baby or do anything about their crying. This was as I was coming around the last corner to pick up Roo from school, and as I looked back I could see all these red lights, everyone was stopping. I slammed my foot on the brake but I couldn’t avoid the motor cycle in front of me and I collided with him.
Thankfully, and I will be thankful for this for the rest of my life, the man I hit had nothing more than a tonne of soreness and a broken thumb. I have nothing more than a bit of whiplash and a a bundle of frayed nerves and the children were both fine. Toby sleeps like a log, I’ve never known a child like it, in fact he slept through the arrival of the air ambulance, the police vans and everything. He woke up when my mother in law lifted him out of his seat and put him into her car seat! Edith thought that she was in seventh heaven, being passed from pillar to post.
The reason I’m telling you this is because I can only imagine that a lot of people have been in the same position as me, and that this has happened to others. There is nothing worse than being in an accident, but it is especially horrific if you are in a car accident and have your children with you. I thought it might be helpful to put a few of my ideas down on the blog about how to best cope if you are in an accident and have your children with you – these in no way negate what we already know about accidents, you know, don’t move injured parties etc but based on my own experiences these might help you out.
- Get the kids away from the car – provided none of you are injured
Assuming you have the same kind of accident that I had whereby none of you are injured you really need to get the kids out of the car and up on to the verge, especially if it’s hot. I was so lucky that there was a lovely lady who held Toby while I got the pushchair out for him to sit in, and Edith stayed in her car seat for a time. Getting the kids out of the car follows the same principal as getting them out if you break down. Just make sure they stay away from the road – so even if they are older, use the car seats, pushchairs etc.
- Try to keep calm. Try.
It’s easier said than done. Try to calm down, especially if you have little ones with you, seeing you stressed will make them stressed and then it’s a one way ticket to shitsville, so try really hard to calm down. Take little sips of water (if the medical professionals at the scene say you can) and encourage the kids to have little drinks – again going exclusively on medical advice.
- Allow strangers to help
One thing that comes out of an accident is the kindness and goodness of the human spirit, when I had the accident people came flooding out of their cars to run to help us – me, the motor cyclist, check over my kids. They were wonderful, because at the end of the day, accidents happen and they can’t be avoided, so people want to help. Let people help. Let people talk to your kids, use your phone to call for help, talk to you to calm them down. Let them help.
- Don’t just call your partner or one person, call for help as much as you need to
In the event of an accident you need to call for help. If you don’t get through to one person, call another and call another. I called my mum, mother in law and husband. One went for Reuben at school, another came to take the kids away from the scene and one came to support me. It helps to have support but you want to have your children taken somewhere safe and away from all the trauma so it is important to rely on more than one person. If you don’t have much family, don’t feel embarrassed calling friends, you aren’t an inconvenience to people, you can lean on them for help.
- Keeping numbers on speed dial makes it easier in an emergency.
This goes for all emergencies, it doesn’t matter what your situation, but having key numbers in your speed dial will help big time. I needed to get in touch with the school and I had given my phone to a lady who had come over to help, it made it a tonne easier to say to her the school was speed dial 3 than to try and explain, while in a panic, that the school was in my address book and how to use my phone. Plus if you are shaking (because you are in shock) it’s easier to push one button than several. I have my husband’s mobile, mum’s mobile, school and home on speed dial.
- Keep an emergency pack in the car for all emergencies or unplanned events
I have everything in the car and have for a while, which has been extremely useful in the past. I have a first aid kit, a change of clothes for everyone – including the adults, toys, water, nappies and dry biscuits. This is super useful in an accident or if you break down etc.
- Emergency contact details – keep copies in the glove box and on your phone
Details of your insurance, driving license, id, names of the kids, emergency contacts, your doctors number, blood group, any allergies or medication you are on and the same for your kids. Keep these details on your phone AND all written down in your glove box. Just in case you need them and can’t remember.
I hope none of you ever need these tips, I really do, but just in case, I hope if you do it will help,