There’s no doubt that riding in a car is far safer for children than it was not so many years ago, when kids regularly rode in the front seat without a seatbelt. However, even the best child safety seat can’t always prevent catastrophic injuries in the event of a serious crash.
Spinal cord, brain and organ injuries are among those that most people realize can affect a child for the rest of their lives. However, a broken bone – depending on where the fracture occurred – can also result in lifelong medical issues. If a fracture occurs on a growth plate, they may require at least one surgery, and maybe more as they get older. A serious fracture can cause a limb to become deformed.
What are growth plates?
These are areas of cartilage near the end of children’s bones throughout their body where bone growth occurs. They harden into bone during the teen years. Like any fracture, a break to a growth plate may be minimal (like a hairline fracture) or it may cause the plate to shatter or even disintegrate. Serious growth plate fractures in the legs can affect a child’s ability to walk for the rest of their lives. Further, the younger a child is when a growth plate is fractured, the more likely it is to affect the bone’s ability to grow to the appropriate length and shape.
Early diagnosis and treatment are critical
It’s crucial for a child to undergo a thorough medical exam after a car crash. If there’s any sign of a broken bone, they should have x-rays and potentially other scans to determine the extent of the fracture. The sooner a growth plate fracture is diagnosed, the more quickly treatment can begin. Most growth plate injuries (which can also occur in falls and sports-related activities) eventually heal, with the bone able to continue to grow normally. However, it can be impossible to know the full impact of a growth plate fracture for some time.
If a car crash or other event that recently caused your child injury was caused by the negligence or actions of another party, it’s important not to accept a settlement when you can’t be sure of how the injury will affect them for the rest of their lives and the true cost (in economic and non-economic terms) of the injury. Seeking legal guidance before you accept a settlement is potentially going to be very important for your family in the long-run.