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June 24, 2013

What to do with a Child Car Seat after an Accident

Long gone are the days when kids would bounce around unbuckled in the back seat of a car. Fortunately, today’s car seat technology and policy ensure maximum protection for even the smallest of passengers.

But if an accident does strike, what should parents do with a possibly compromised car seat?

The answer is different depending on who you talk to.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends replacing any car seat that has been involved in a moderate to severe crash. But a car seat does not necessarily have to be replaced following a minor crash.

The NHTSA considers a crash to be minor if it meets all of the following criteria:

  • The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site;
  • The vehicle door nearest the safety seat was undamaged;
  • There were no injuries to any of the vehicle occupants;
  • The air bags (if present) did not deploy; AND
  • There is no visible damage to the safety seat

Some car seat manufacturers, like Britax, Fisher Price, and Peg Perego, agree with the NHTSA’s recommendations and say that their seats can be used after a minor car accident. But the majority of manufacturers advise parents to replace child car seats following any crash, regardless of severity.

So be sure to get rid of any car seat that has been involved in a serious accident. If the accident was minor, follow up with the manufacturer to see if the car seat should be replaced.

It’s never worth taking a chance when it comes to the safety of your most precious cargo.

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