The safety of children while traveling in a vehicle is paramount, and a crucial element of that safety is the proper functioning of car seats. In a car crash, even if it seems minor, the car seat’s integrity can be compromised, which may reduce its effectiveness in protecting a child during subsequent incidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a car seat should be replaced after a moderate or severe crash. Even if the car seat appears undamaged, hidden defects may affect its performance in future crashes.
Exceptions to the rule
The NHTSA also provides guidelines indicating that not all car crashes necessitate replacing the car seat. Using the car seat may be acceptable if a collision is considered minor.
A minor crash meets all the following criteria:
- You could drive the vehicle from the crash site.
- The door near the car seat was undamaged.
- Nobody in the vehicle was injured.
- The airbags didn’t deploy.
- The car seat isn’t damaged.
If the crash doesn’t meet all these criteria, the collision is considered more severe, and the car seat should be replaced.
Checking with the manufacturer
In addition to these general rules, it’s a good idea to check with the car seat manufacturer after a crash. Manufacturers may have guidelines regarding the crash impact and provide specific instructions about when to replace their products.
Many insurance policies cover replacing car seats in a crash, so checking with your insurance provider is worthwhile. Remember to keep a record of the accident, any police reports and photographs to facilitate the claims process. If you’re struggling with injuries or losses after a car accident, it could help to learn about your legal options.