To keep the young one in your family safe, you should always use an age-, height- and weight-appropriate car seat every time you transport your son or daughter. Still, with the average cost of a convertible seat being roughly $175, you want to get as much use out of the seat as possible.
After an accident, you may wonder if it is safe to continue to use your child’s existing car seat. Fortunately, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released guidance on when to replace a car seat following a crash.
Was your accident minor?
After a moderate or severe car accident, the NHTSA recommends replacing your child’s car seat immediately. For minor accidents, though, continuing to use the seat is probably safe.
If all the following are true, your accident was likely minor:
- Your child’s car seat sustained no damage
- The door closest to the child’s car seat had no damage
- You, your child and all passengers suffered no injuries
- Your car’s air bags did not deploy
- You drove away from the accident scene
Does your child’s car seat have damage?
Because you do not want to continue to use a damaged car seat, it is important to examine the seat for problems. To do so, look for structural cracks or breaks. Also, check all buckles, snaps, zippers and closures to be sure they continue to work. Then, verify that the seat still attaches securely to your vehicle.
You do not want to leave your child’s safety in the car to chance. By carefully inspecting the car seat for damage and weighing the severity of your crash, you can likely decide whether to throw away the seat or continue to use it.