For responsible parents like you, always placing your child in a height- and weight-appropriate car seat is non-negotiable. After all, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, car seats reduce accident fatality rates by as much as 71% for children under the age of one. For older children, car seat usage cuts accident injury risk by about half.
Because you are likely to have many expenses after a car accident, you may wonder if it is ok to continue to use your child’s car seat. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asks parents to replace car seats after moderate or severe accidents.
Was your accident minor?
Even though you should replace your child’s car seat after moderate or severe accidents, it is usually safe to continue to use the seat after a minor one. To determine if your accident was minor, ask yourself the following questions:
- Did you drive away from the accident?
- Did the car have damage on the side closest to the child’s car seat?
- Did anyone in the accident suffer any injury?
- Did your car’s airbags deploy?
If you answer affirmatively to any of the above questions, you did not have a minor car accident and should replace your child’s car seat immediately.
Do you see signs of car seat damage?
While evaluating the nature of your car accident is useful, you should also inspect the car seat for signs of damage. If the seat has cracks or other damage, it may no longer provide adequate protection for the young one in your family.
Remember, you do not want another family to use a potentially damaged car seat. Therefore, if the seat is not safe to use, you should dispose of it instead of donating or selling it.