My son is terrified of getting in a car accident.

Melissa - posted on 10/11/2010 ( 1 mom has responded )

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This summer we (my son and I) were rear-ended twice in the same week. My two year old talked about it for a week or so and eventually forgot about it. He called it the "big bang" and would talk about it whenever we would get in the car. I listened to him and agreed with everything he was saying "Yes, it was a big bang. It was very loud. It was a little scary when it happened. That's why we wear seat belts and sit in the car seat, etc."



Then this weekend, we witnessed a very loud and scary 3 car accident and even though we weren't involved, we had to wait for the police. No one was seriously injured, but the fire truck and ambulance came, and the person who caused the accident was almost out of control with emotion.



All this left quite an impression on my son. Now he's scared to ride in the car. When I put him in he car seat he says "Can't sit in car seat, car gonna hit us!" When we do go in the car and start going down the road, he says in a really worried voice "Oh no! Car gonna hit us!" over and over again. And he is really really anxious about this.



We've only ridden in the car 4 times since the accident (3 days ago) because he's so anxious about riding in cars. When I first realized this was becoming a problem for him, I tried validation and distraction, "Yes, we saw that accident and yes it was very scary but we weren't hit and no one was hurt. And after we went to the birthday party. Did you have fun at the party? Do you remember playing on the slide? Was the strawberry shortcake yummy?" It really doesn't seem to work though.



What would you say or do if this was your child and you didn't want him to be scared of riding in the car?

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Dora - posted on 10/12/2010

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I feel so bad for him. Car accidents are beyond scary. I was terrified after my own accident. I would recommend just reassuring him before you get into the car and while you are driving. Just don't force it on him or he will develop a life long anxiety about riding in cars. Take it slow with him. Just speaking from personal experience myself. It is a true fear. Try taking a car ride to the park and talk to him the entire time in the car. Let him bring his favorite toy in the car with him so he feels some security. Also play some of his favorite CD's to lighten the mood and help him to relax. Good luck and don't worry it will get easier. Just work with him.

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