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Whiplash occurs when your child's head is suddenly forced forward and then snapped backward, as might happen in a car crash or sports injury. This can cause neck pain and stiffness. Your child's head, chest, shoulders, and arms also may hurt.
Most whiplash gets better with home care. Your doctor may advise you to give your child medicine to relieve pain or relax the muscles. Your doctor may suggest exercise and physiotherapy to increase flexibility and relieve pain. Your child can try wearing a neck (cervical) collar to support his or her neck. For a while your child probably will need to avoid lifting and other activities that can strain the neck.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Current as of: March 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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