How to Care for Healthy Siblings When a Child is Injured


OMAHA, Nebraska. It’s a parent’s worst nightmare to have a child get injured in a car accident. Your family’s resources may be focused on getting the best possible medical care for your injured child. You may be focused on rehabilitation and on returning to a new normal. However, it is important that in the process that parents also consider the needs of healthy children.

The siblings of an injured child will be impacted by the other sibling’s injury. Uninjured siblings may become worried that they could also get hurt in a car accident. A sibling’s injury can be a traumatic event for the other children, and they could develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. If your children develop problems sleeping, exhibit mood changes, or experience fear around the car or other situations, you may want to seek help for them.

Children of injured siblings may also experience other losses. For example, they may not get as much attention from both parents, as parents focus their attention on the injured child. If family life starts to revolve around the needs of the injured child and on the injured child’s recovery, the healthy child may start to act out, or he or she may withdraw, according to a New York Times piece on the needs of siblings of disabled and ill children.

Parents should make time to consider the feelings of the healthy child. The healthy child may feel anger or resentment. In some cases, the healthy child may benefit from a support group, therapy, counseling, or from special camps designed for siblings of sick and disabled children. Siblings need space to express their own fears and concerns. Families that are already struggling to care for a sick child may have difficulty making this space without help.

Older children may take on more responsibility than is appropriate for their age. Other adolescents may rebel. When children grow up too fast, they face unique risks and challenges. One psychologist speaking to People magazine noted that children who grow up too fast may be more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, suffer stress-related illnesses, experience burnout at a younger age, and be more at risk of suicide.

If your family is already struggling to adjust to life after a child’s injury, it can be difficult to know if your healthy child is at risk of suffering from the psychological fallout of a changed family dynamic. To be safe, many families may opt to seek counseling for the healthy child to ensure his or her wellbeing. Some families seek counseling together to strive to preserve a more normal family dynamic after an accident.

However, all of these services can be incredibly costly. Counseling may not always be covered by health insurance. Therapy for a healthy child may not always be readily available at a low cost.

What can families do? Consider speaking to Rensch & Rensch Law, personal injury lawyers in Omaha, Nebraska. Our attorneys can review the circumstances of your child’s injury and fight to help you and your family receive a recovery that supports your whole family’s changed needs. In some cases, families may need additional childcare services, while in other instances, families may need additional emotional support services. Our personal injury lawyers can help. Visit us at to learn more.

Rensch & Rensch

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