Do Parents Need to Replace Their Child's Car Seat Following a Car Crash?


July 08, 2013

Child safety seats can mean the difference between a child suffering minor injury in a motor vehicle collision and a devastating injury that permanently impacts a child’s quality of life.  Car seats provide a 28 percent reduction in the risk of fatality for kids involved in collisions, as opposed to those of the same age who are simply secured with a seatbelt if the child safety restraint is used properly according to a report in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

A situation that can be challenging for many parents involves determining whether they should discontinue use of a car seat once the safety restraint system is involved in a collision.  Car seats can be expensive so parents may be hesitant to simply discard a safety restraint system following a car crash if this is not necessary.  On the other hand, parents typically are even less inclined to continue using a car seat that is no longer safe because the force of a collision has compromised the structural integrity of the car seat.

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.

Our Atlanta car accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates are committed to promoting vehicle safety for kids.  If your child has been injured in a car crash, our Atlanta personal injury lawyers are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.  No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.

Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333).  You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. 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.