After a car accident, you get your vehicle repaired, you see the doctor and you replace any personal belongings lost or damaged. But, did you know that you should replace the car seat in the accident as well? Whether you have one or five car seats in your vehicle, replacing them after an accident is important.
Child Car Seats Save Lives
A car seat can protect and even save your child’s life. Whether it is a traditional infant seat or a booster seat, these are required by law to keep your child safe until they are 8 years or older or reach the weight and height threshold to safely sit without any type of child seat.
What most parents do not realize is that they should replace a child seat after an accident, especially if it was a moderate to severe accident. This will ensure the child has an adequate seat and any unseen damage to the existing seat does not threaten his or her safety.
What NHTSA Recommends
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA)have performed extensive studies on this very matter. They have recommendations for parents with children in car seats so that parents can more clearly identify when it is proper to replace the car seat. Some of these recommendations include:
- Replacing the seat following a moderate to severe car accident of any kind.
- Replacing the seats if the air bags in the vehicle deployed.
- Replacing the seats if the doors nearest to the seats were damaged.
- Replacing the car seat if the vehicle was so damaged it could not be driven away from the scene.
Even if there is no visible damage to the child’s seat, parents should still replace it. This is a cost that insurance plans do cover. Also, if the accident was caused by someone’s negligence, then the other driver could be forced to pay for the car seat replacement if for some reason the other driver’s insurance will not cover the cost.
The Unseen Damage
In recent studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), it was noted that 30 mile per hour accidents created minor damage to the car seats—from cracks in the hard plastic to strains on the plastic shell. While the dummies in the crashes were protected, these minor pieces of damage will impact the ability for the seat to remain safe or even meet federal standards; therefore, the seat needs to be replaced.
Most of this damage is not seen unless parents go physically looking for it—such as taking the seat apart and examining every piece of plastic. This is why the IIHS and NHTSA recommend just replacing the seats to be safe.