Learn About Injury
and Trauma

Reactions to Injury

One of the most important things you can do to help your child is to recognize your child’s reactions to injury and understand child trauma symptoms. Many reactions are normal and common; some are more worrisome.

The first step in helping your child recover is to learn what reactions to look for and what you can do to help your child respond in a healthy way.

In the first few days after an injury, common child trauma symptoms are:

  • Nearly all children feel upset, jumpy, or worried at times.
  • Parents and other family members can have similar reactions.
  • Nearly everyone feels symptoms of stress; Headache, tense muscles, knots in your stomach, sweaty palms. Also feeling that life is a bit out of control.
  • Parents and children may argue more.
  • Children may be more clingy or have trouble sleeping.

You can expect these reactions after an injury. With a little time and extra support, most children, and parents, feel better.

Some people even notice positive aspects in their reactions to injury. They may:

  • Feel thankful and relieved that nothing worse happened
  • Resolve to do things more safely in the future

When an accident or injury causes overwhelming feelings of fear, helplessness, and horror, it can lead to more than just everyday stress reactions -- it can lead to traumatic stress.