Two Poplar Bluff, Missouri School Bus Accidents Raise the Question: How Do Children Cope?
Luckily, school bus accidents are uncommon. But the Butler County auto accident attorneys know that they do happen, and that it can be hard for a child to deal with such an experience. Even minor bus accidents can be frightening for the children who are passengers; in fact, simply seeing one on the news can be scary. It's important for parents to be aware of what their children are feeling in the aftermath of a bus accident: indeed, a Poplar Bluff school bus accident did happen recently, and the death of a 6 year old from a bus accident in Callaway County last January has been in the news again.
Poplar Bluff School Bus Accidents
The recent accident occurred on November 17, about two miles east of Poplar Bluff. Shortly after 3 p.m., the school bus was stopped on Route NN to off-load students when a woman driving a 2001 GMC struck the bus, sending nine kids to the hospital, all with minor injuries. (Incidentally, a second school bus accident had happened locally only seven days earlier: a car ran into the front wheel of an R1 bus. None of the students were hurt in that collision, and the bus was able to continue driving.)
And several media outlets are reporting on the criminal charges filed against a school bus driver stemming from a Callaway County accident last January. The driver was charged with involuntary manslaughter (a Class D felony) after he ran over and killed a 6 year old boy: he has since pled guilty to those changes, and could be facing up to four years in prison.
Monitoring Your Child After a School Bus Accident
For most kids, death is an intimidating mystery. It's hard for them to wrap their minds around any kind of tragedy or loss of life. There is no "normal" reaction for anyone who survives or witnesses a traumatic event, like a fatal traffic accident or school bus incident. Some kids will go along like nothing has happened; some will show signs of depression; and some will feel very happy and relieved to have survived. Still others will feel guilty for surviving. Remember, as a parent, you know your child best: it's important to monitor the situation, and create opportunities to talk about it.
Watch your child for behavior changes, like the following:
- Sleeping more or less than usual, or having difficulty getting to sleep
- Eating more, or not wanting to eat at all
- Becoming preoccupied with morbid thoughts
- Being quiet or hyper
- Avoiding normal activities they usually enjoy
- Suddenly changing or avoiding friends
What you can do:
- Create opportunities for children to talk, like a drive, walk or bedtime chat.
- Ask how they are doing, and show you're happy that they're talking.
- Give them room to have their own feelings.
- Listen! Let them do the talking, and don't minimize how they feel or what they experienced.
- Result the impulse to try and "fix things," or to give too much advice.
- Offer reassurance and realistic, pragmatic perspectives about the accident, and about life in general.
- Talk about counseling.
It's important to remind your child that--for the most part--the world is a safe place. Perhaps you could share an experience you had with death, and explain how you coped. We all have to deal with death: help your child understand that they will learn to deal with it too, and that life will go on.
For more information about helping your child through the aftermath of a traumatic accident, you can contact Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center, your family doctor, or school resource officers. For legal help with a school bus accident injury claim, contact the Poplar Bluff, Missouri school bus accident lawyers.