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Should you keep a car seat after an accident?

Updated: Feb 14, 2023

If your child’s car seat has been involved in a car accident, it is important to know the guidelines for its replacement. According to safety experts, a car seat should be replaced if it has been involved in an accident, even if it appears to be undamaged. This is because the internal structure of the seat may have been weakened, reducing its effectiveness in protecting your child in the event of another collision. Some car seat manufacturers have specific guidelines for when a car seat should be replaced following an accident. It is recommended to check with the manufacturer for their specific guidelines and to err on the side of caution. Keeping your child safe should always be a top priority.

Does a car seat need to be replaced after an accident?

It is always a good idea to consult the car seat manual and the car manufacturer’s guidelines for any specific recommendations regarding replacement after a crash. If in doubt, it is better to err on the side of caution and replace the car seat. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration recommends replacing car seats after moderate-to-severe crashes to ensure safety. If the crash is minor, then no replacement seat is needed according to the NHTSA. It is still important to inspect the car seat for any damages that were possibly incurred, even after minor crashes.

What is defined as a minor crash?

  1. No visible damages/ minor scratches

  2. Airbags did not deploy

  3. No injuries

  4. The vehicle is drivable after the crash

It's important to note that even in minor crashes, car seats can incur unseen damages such as cracks or distortions in the frame or shell that may affect their performance in future accidents. The NHTSA recommends consulting the car seat manufacturer's guidelines or a certified child passenger safety technician to properly assess the safety of the car seat after an accident. If in doubt, it is always better to replace the seat to ensure the safety of the child.

Do car seat manufacturers have an opinion on the matter?

It's recommended to replace a car seat if its condition is in doubt after an accident, for the safety of the child. The manufacturer's recommendations should be followed and if uncertain, they can be contacted for clarification.

Does the seat still need to be replaced if the child was not in the accident?

In order to ensure the utmost safety for your child, it is recommended to replace the car seat if it has been involved in an accident, even if the child was not present. The potential for a damaged car seat to not provide the level of protection in future accidents causes the replacement of the seat. It is advised to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines and recommendations before deciding.

Will the insurance cover the cost of a new car seat?

The coverage of a new car seat by insurance companies can vary. It is best to check with your specific insurance provider for their policies and guidelines regarding car seat replacement costs. It is important to keep the receipt of the new car seat as proof of purchase, as it may be required when making a claim. There is usually no restriction on purchasing a different seat that may better suit your child's growth and safety needs.

What do I do with the old car seat?

If you are trying to contribute to the current efforts to go green, recycle it. You will need to find a place to do so and if not, your only option, unfortunately, is just to dispose of it. Put a note on it somewhere that the car seat is unusable, so no one accidentally picks it up and thinks it is ok to use.

I have more questions related to accidents...

At Demesmin and Dover Law Firm, our goal is to ensure that clients have the information they require navigating the aftermath of an accident. We offer comprehensive support, keeping clients informed and ensuring they receive the compensation. If you or someone you care about has been involved in an accident, please reach out to us.



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