Should you upgrade your child’s car seat after an accident?

Should you upgrade your child’s car seat after an accident?
Should you upgrade your child’s car seat after an accident?
William T. Corbett, JR.

Car accidents continue to be one of the primary killers of children under the age of 12. To keep the young one in your family as safe as possible, it is critical to strap him or her into a size-appropriate car seat. After all, according to the National Safety Council, car seats reduce child fatality risk by as much as 71%.

For your child’s car seat to do its job, though, it must be in tip-top shape. Unfortunately, a car accident may cause the car seat to sustain damage, making it less effective.

The official recommendation

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration advises parents to upgrade their children’s car seats after moderate and severe car accidents. Put differently, it is only acceptable to continue to use a car seat that has gone through a minor accident, such as a small fender-bender.

To determine whether your car accident is moderate or severe, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the car seat have any visible signs of damage?
  • Were you able to drive the car away from the accident scene?
  • Did any of the car’s airbags inflate during the crash?
  • Did you or anyone else in your vehicle suffer any type of injury?
  • Was there damage to the side of the vehicle closest to your child’s car seat?

Your peace of mind

If you answer yes to any of the above questions, your car accident was moderate or severe. Therefore, you should immediately discontinue the use of your child’s car seat and buy a new one before transporting your son or daughter.

Ultimately, even though new car seats can be expensive, it is impossible to put a price tag on the peace of mind you get from keeping your child as safe as possible.

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