Back on the Bus: Helping Your Children After an Accident

When you walk your children down to the bus stop to get to school, you assume they’ll be safe on the ride there. School bus accidents are not terribly common, but they do happen. If your child has been involved in a bus accident on the way to or home from school, there may be injuries to contend with. However, invisible injuries such as post-accident trauma can take their toll too. Children who have been in an accident can oftentimes exhibit real fear and anxiety about getting back on the bus or into a car. So, what’s a parent to do? 

Dealing With The Aftermath

When your child starts exhibiting unusual or fearful behavior after an accident, this can be post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While you may have only heard of this disorder for ex-soldiers or those who have been in kidnapping situations, the simple fact is that PTSD can actually affect anyone who has been involved in even the most minor trauma. According to TraumaHealing(dot)com, trauma can be frightening primarily because it is not well understood. As children mirror your reactions to their trauma, much of it can be avoided by simply keeping your feelings and emotional responses in check.

1) Talk to your child and take note of their responses.

After a school bus accident, take note of your child’s responses. Do they become fearful or tremble at the thought of getting back on the bus? Try to talk to your child and make some mental notes about how they respond. Evasive behavior, refusal to talk or avoiding the subject can all be signs that your kid is suffering beyond normal responses to trauma.  

2) Look for therapeutic options for your child.

If the situation doesn’t seem to be getting better, looking at engaging your child with a therapist or trauma specialist can really help to get them back on track. Try to find a therapist that specializes in children, as they will be able to more easily understand the issues affecting your child. If you’re not sure where to start, visiting your family doctor is a good place to begin. He or she can usually suggest colleagues they feel will be a good fit, as well as prescribe medication to help deal with the traumatic aspects in the interim.

3) Discuss your child’s emotional trauma with an attorney.

When your child needs extra medical attention and therapy, the costs can really add up. A bus accident is not the fault of either you or your child, and the responsible party should be picking up those bills. One New York personal injury attorney states that “school bus accident claims can be very challenging”, as a result of involving the driver, the school system, and in many cases the city as well. A lawyer can help to navigate the laws. They will also be able to let you know what the process and timeline will be for settlements.

Be sure to stay local as well. For example, if the accident happened in New York, NY, you’ll be best-served having a local attorney who has knowledge of both city and state laws.

5) Let your child know their reactions are normal and healthy.

Your child will be looking to you to see how they should be reacting, so try to keep your actions measured and calm so they know it’s okay. However, also let your child know that their reactions to the trauma are both healthy and natural, and something that anyone would experience after an accident. By letting them know that it’s okay to have these feelings, they will be more willing to work through their issues and hopefully come out the other side.


Getting your child over the trauma of a school bus accident can take a lot of time and some investment in your kid’s mental health. Look for post-trauma specialists who can help your kid learn to deal with their feelings of anxiety. By setting your child on the right path for recovery,  you’re more likely to see a significant turnaround in how they’re responding to their feelings post-accident.



Writer Melanie Fleury is not always 100% comfortable with putting her kids on the school bus each day. She learned a lot from the website of The Perecman Firm, a New York personal injury attorney, about the available options if her children are involved in a school bus accident.



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