Even though today’s cars, trucks and SUVs are safer than ever, motor vehicle accidents still kill an unacceptable number of kids every single year. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more than 600 children under the age of 13 died in car accidents in 2020 alone.
Placing your children in safety-rated car seats can reduce their chances of dying in a car accident considerably. Nevertheless, because car seats tend to be expensive, you may wonder if you can keep using a car seat that has been through an accident.
The official recommendation
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration tells parents to immediately replace car seats after moderate or severe car accidents. Put differently, it is only safe to continue to use a car seat that has gone through a minor wreck.
For a wreck to be minor, each of the following must be true:
- Your car is driveable
- Your car’s airbags do not deploy
- You and your passengers do not suffer any type of injury
- The side of your car closest to your child’s car seat does not have any damage
Your visual inspection
Even if your car accident appears to be minor, it is critical to take a close look at the car seat. When visually inspecting the seat, check for cracks, tears and other signs of damage. If you see any, it is advisable to stop using the car seat immediately. Then, before transporting your kids, invest in new safety-rated car seats that are age- and size-appropriate.
Ultimately, by replacing car seats that may no longer be safe, you do what you can to protect your kids in the future.