Do I Need to Replace My Child's Car Seat After a Car Accident?

Being involved in a car accident can be scary, but being involved in a car accident with children in the car is even scarier. The force of an accident can have a significant impact on the exterior of your car, but it can also cause significant damage to the inside of your car. After being involved in a car accident, many parents wonder if they need to replace their child's car seat. The answer often depends on several factors, including the manufacturer and the severity of the accident. Here are some tips to help:

Can I Reuse a Car Seat After an Accident?

The answer is likely not. The force of a car crash can be extreme, and since it's often strong enough to bend the frame of your car, it can easily damage your child's car seat too. Even though you may not be able to see the damage, there's a good chance that the plastic in the car seat could be weakened.

Even if your child wasn't in his/her car seat during the accident, it's still important that you replace it. A car seat will take some of the crash impacts even when a child isn't in the seat. Thus, you should replace it regardless of whether the child was in the seat at the time of the accident or not.

If you do need to replace your child's car seat, many insurance companies will reimburse you for the cost. If another party was at fault, their insurance company may cover the cost of a new car seat. In order to have the cost covered, you'll likely need to show the insurance company the receipt for the new car seat.

National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration's (NHTSA) Guidelines on Car Seats After an Accident

The NHTSA used to recommend that you replace a car seat whenever it was in a car accident, regardless of the severity of the crash. However, the NHTSA has revised its recommendation in an attempt to reduce consumer & insurance costs and to reduce the number of children without a car seat while the seat is being replaced.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that car seats should be replaced following a moderate or severe crash. This helps ensure a high level of crash protection for children in car seats. The NHTSA also states that car seats don't automatically need to be replaced following a minor crash.

Minor crashes are those that meet all of the following criteria:

  • The car was able to be driven away from the crash site
  • The vehicle door closest to the car seat was undamaged
  • There were no injuries to anyone in the car
  • The airbags did not deploy
  • There is no visible damage to the car seat

If you're not sure whether to replace your child's car seat after an accident, err on the side of caution and simply replace it. As the saying goes, "it's better to be safe than sorry!"

Contact the Dellutri Law Group for a FREE, no-obligation consultation! Call us if you or someone you know has been injured and needs advice and representation: (800) 391-4337 Plus, you can click here to request a free consultation. Our team of dedicated attorneys and staff are here to help!