As a caring parent, you recognize the importance of always strapping your child into a car seat before hitting the road. While choosing the right car seat for your young one’s age, weight and height is essential, you probably want to use the car seat for as long as possible. After all, car seats can be almost unbelievably expensive.
If you have a car accident, you may think it necessary to replace your child’s car seat. Fortunately, you may not have to go shopping just yet. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it is ok to continue to use child car seats if the seat has no visible signs of damage and the car accident was minor.
Does the car seat have visible signs of damage?
Because car accidents are stressful events, you should wait until you calm down before inspecting your child’s car seat for visible signs of damage. Then, carefully look at all parts of the seat for cracks, tears, compressions or other damage. Do not forget to check buckles, anchors and padding when performing your visual inspection.
If you see no visible signs of damage, it may be fine to continue to use the car seat. Before you do though, you should consider the severity of your crash.
Was your accident serious?
If your accident was serious, you should replace the car seat even if it appears undamaged. Any of the following characteristics make your car accident serious:
- Airbag deployment
- Damage to door nearest the car seat
- Driver or passenger injuries
- Vehicle damage that renders it undrivable
You do not want to take your child’s safety lightly. Therefore, if you even think your accident may have been serious or the seat may have damage, you should probably just buy a new car seat.