Center for Injury Research and Prevention

Child Traumatic Stress

Repair the World or Stop It From Breaking?

The three-year old boy had a low grade fever and runny nose. Mom was sleeping in the corner of the room when I came in and barely awakened when I knocked on the door. Our conversation was short and to the point as I went through my routine “it’s a virus, tincture of time” talk. Leaving the room, the mom asked me for a taxi voucher. She did not want to call Freddie’s father for a ride back. With one more question, easily skipped, I learned that she and the child’s father had been fighting about their son’s cough keeping him awake. Freddie’s father had kicked them out of the house to find a doctor to “fix him or I will fix him, and you.” Turns out that Freddie and his mom were living in a house of fear and uncertainty. We see kids like Freddie each day. Sometimes we can sense that something is off but are afraid to ask that next question. Oftentimes, we cannot see the problem until we ask the right questions. Emergency medical providers may not feel that learning about these issues is their role. The first part of addressing a “chronic illness” is recognizing it. The next time you get “that feeling” see what a few straightforward, respectful questions can reveal.

Envisioning Future of Pediatric Trauma Care

A few weeks ago, I was invited to participate in a summit of over 50 pediatric trauma specialists from across the country in Winston-Salem, NC. Our goal: to create a 10-year plan to improve pediatric trauma care in the areas of research, treatment, and education. CHOP was well represented at the Pediatric Trauma Summit.

Coping Coach: A Web-based Game to Help Children Recover

Millions of children experience injuries or sudden illnesses each year, leaving families to face challenging emotional reactions in addition to physical recovery. Unfortunately, there are very few resources available to support children through this recovery. To address this need, our team collaborated with colleagues at the University of Queensland in Australia to develop a web-based game called Coping Coach – a fun, interactive way to help a large number of children with their emotional recovery.

Asking Kids About Traumatic Stress- Our Research

As clinicians or researchers, we often turn to parents to tell us how their child is faring emotionally. Parents are THE experts on their child, and are a great source of information about changes in a child’s usual behaviors. But research and clinical experience have shown that parents may not always grasp a child’s emotional symptoms. After a scary event, it is crucial to ask children directly about their own traumatic stress reactions.

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