Being involved in a car accident is a frightening experience. With luck, everyone walks away unhurt and your car is repairable. What you might not think about, however, is whether your child safety seat is still safe to use. Tucson passenger injury attorneys at Lerner and Rowe suggest you follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding replacement of a car seat after a car accident and look to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for professional guidance.
Rules of Replacement of Car Seat After a Car Accident
The NHTSA recommends you replace car seats anytime the crash is considered moderate or severe, because you may not actually see any damage on the car seat. Safety seats that have already been through one accident may no longer have the highest level of crash protection in subsequent crashes. You can avoid putting your child at risk, by replacing the seat immediately.
However, minor accidents, such as a bumper tap that doesn’t even harm the bumper, wouldn’t warrant a new car seat. The NHTSA states that if a crash meets ALL of the following criteria, then it’s considered minor and wouldn’t require a replacement.
- Your air bags didn’t deploy.
- You drove the car away after the crash.
- No occupants within your vehicle suffered an injury.
- There wasn’t any damage to the door nearest your child’s car seat.
- There isn’t any visible damage on the car seat.
When in Doubt, Throw the Car Seat Out
After an accident you’ll want to err on the side of caution. Keep in mind that if there was enough force to bend metal, then there’s definitely enough force to damage a car seat’s plastic molding.
Even if you can’t see any damage after a crash, for your child’s safety, it’s best to purchase a new one. Most insurance companies will reimburse you the cost of replacing a car seat following a crash with a receipt for the new seat.
You can always consult a NHTSA authorized child safety seat inspection station to make absolutely certain the car seat is safe.
If you or your child is hurt in a car accident, contact our legal team of board certified and experienced personal injury attorneys at Lerner & Rowe online or by calling 520-977-1900. Our Tucson passenger injury attorneys offer free consultations and are among the best attorneys in Arizona at fighting for victims’ rights.
These materials have been prepared by Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Photographs are for dramatization purposes only and may include models.