Car accidents are a fact of life. If we escape with just a few scrapes and dents to a fender and no injuries, most of us consider ourselves lucky. But, even if you and your loved ones emerge from the accident unscathed, what about your child’s car seat? Is it still safe to use after an automobile accident?
Unfortunately, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), there’s no clear cut answer to that question. Instead, it depends on the specific circumstances surrounding the car accident.
In most cases, after a minor accident, car seats likely do not need to be replaced. However, according to the NHSTA, car seats should be replaced after severe or moderate accidents. But, how do you know for sure? Well, as explained in this ABC affiliate’s article, the NHSTA has issued guidelines to assist in determining whether your child’s car seat should be replaced:
Child safety seats probably do not need to be replaced if all of these conditions are met:
1. The vehicle was able to be driven away from the scene of the accident.
2. The door nearest the safety seat was undamaged.
3. No vehicle occupant was injured in the accident.
4. The airbags did not deploy.
5. There is no visible damage to the safety seat.
Of course, even if the car seat is unharmed after a car accident, it only provides adequate protection if you use it properly. As we explained in a prior post, it’s important to install your child’s car seat correctly and appropriate use of car seat tethers is key. Guidelines for proper installation of car seats can be found on the Safe Kids USA Web site or on the Web site for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
- Auto Insurance Co. Promotes Car Safety for Children (news.onlineautoinsurance.com)
- U.S. Car Accident Map and Chicago Bicycle Accident Map (thechicago-injury-lawyer.com)
- How to Buy a Safe and Affordable Car Seat (couponshoebox.com)