5 Ways To Tell If You Need To Replace Your Car Seat After An Accident
Deciding whether or not to replace your child’s car seat after an automobile accident can be complicated because different sources give different recommendations. Car seat manufacturers typically recommend replacing a car seat after any car accident, no matter how minor it is. Other agencies including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, suggest that car seats are safe to continue using after a minor accident.
1. Did your air bags deploy during the accident?One way to decide if you should replace your car seat is whether the air bags were set off during the accident. If the accident was a direct impact that didn’t trigger the air bags, you may be able to continue using your current car seat. If the accident was at an angle that didn’t trigger the air bag sensor do not use air bag deployment as a determination on whether to get a new car seat for your child.
2. Did you drive your car away after the accident?If your auto accident was minor enough that you could drive your vehicle away after the accident instead of having it towed away, you might be able to keep your existing car seat for you child. If the accident was severe enough that the car had to be taken away by a tow truck, make sure you replace your car seat.
3. Was anyone injured in the accident?If the accident was serious enough for someone other than your child in their car seat to get hurt, be thankful that your little one is unhurt and get a new car seat. If your car seat-strapped child was the one injured that means the car seat was likely directly impacted and you should buy a new one. If no one was injured, the accident may be considered minor enough to avoid the need for a new car seat.
4. Is there any damage to the car seat?Look the car seat over carefully. If you see any damage such as cracked plastic, damaged safety belts or other problems make sure you purchase a new car seat right away. If there is no visible damage to the seat and the accident was minor you should be able to keep using your current car seat for your little one.
5. Would you feel better if you replace it?Sometimes all signs may point to you being able to keep the car seat you have but you might still be unsure about using it. If it would give you more peace of mind to get a new seat, go ahead and buy a new one. There is no substitute for knowing that your child is as safe as she can possibly be.
If you answered all of these questions and feel confident in continuing to use your child’s car seat, you should be fine to go ahead and keep it. If your previous answers indicate you need a new car seat for your little one, be sure to purchase a new seat before strapping your child back into your vehicle.
Guest author Patricia White is a freelance blogger and is writing on behalf of carinsurance.org.uk.