All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.
When should I replace a car seat after an accident?
The NHTSA recommends that car seats be replaced following a moderate or serious collision, but indicates that a car seat does not need to be automatically replaced after only a minor collision.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has provided guidelines for parents in terms of whether to continue use of a car seat following a motor vehicle collision. The NHTSA recommends that car seats be replaced following a moderate or serious collision, but indicates that a car seat does not need to be automatically replaced after only a minor collision. The NHTSA characterizes a minor collision for these purposes as meeting all of the following criteria:
- The door of the car closest to the car seat did not suffer damage.
- Inspection of the safety seat reveals no apparent damage.
- No vehicle occupants experienced any injuries.
- No airbags deployed.
- The car could still be driven after the crash
While a parent undeterred by the cost of replacing a car seat might elect to replace the child safety restraint system in an abundance of caution, the NHTSA website indicates that these guidelines are intended to reduce the risk of children being transported with no car seat while parents are waiting to replace a car seat involved in a collision. These recommendations also are intended to decrease the economic burden on parents when car seat replacement is not necessarily required.