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Should you get rid of a child’s car seat after a crash?

On Behalf of | Mar 19, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Child car seats have been mandatory for many years. Vehicle seatbelts are designed for adults, so they are wrongly positioned for children. Appropriately sized child seats are made to fit children.

Most people do not replace their seat belts or seats after a crash. So what about a child seat? Can you keep using yours after your vehicle has been in a collision?

It depends on the severity of the crash

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that people replace them after a moderate or severe crash, but that may not be necessary after a minor crash.

NHTSA’s definition of a minor crash is one where all five of the following are true:

  1. You could drive the vehicle away from the crash.
  2. The door nearest to the seat was undamaged.
  3. No one in the vehicle was injured.
  4. No airbags deployed.
  5. The child seat is not visibly damaged.

If any of those five do not apply, you need to get rid of the seat away and get a new one. There are several reasons for this.

First, for your child’s safety, and second, because failing to replace it may harm your chances of compensation if you have another collision. The insurer could argue that any injuries to the child in the second crash might not have occurred if you had replaced the seat the first time.

Note: Do not give it away or take it to a charity or thrift shop. Find out the best way to dispose of it so that no one else will use it.

If you are in any doubt, replace the seat. It is better to be safe than sorry. With appropriate legal help, you will increase the chance you get compensation that covers the cost of a replacement and much more.