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If you’ve been involved in a car accident and had a child restrained in a car seat, you may need to replace the seat! In April 2004, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced changes to the agency’s recommendations about replacing child safety seats following a crash. NHTSA explains:
“The change was made to ensure parents or caregivers continue to correctly restrain their children following a minor crash and to reduce the burden of unnecessary child safety seat replacement.”
Child safety seats should be replaced if they have been involved in a moderate or severe crash. A crash is minor — and the seat involved in it is safe for reuse — if it meets all of the following criteria:
- A visual inspection of the child safety seat, including inspection under any easily movable seat padding, does not reveal any cracks or deformation that might have been caused by the crash.
- The vehicle in which the child safety seat was installed was capable of being driven from the crash scene.
- The vehicle door nearest the child safety seat was undamaged.
- There were no injuries to any of the vehicle occupants.
- The air bags (if any) did not deploy.
A crash that meets these criteria is much less severe than the dynamic test used in compliance tests of Child Restraint Systems. They are highly unlikely to affect future child safety seat performance, which will give parents and caregivers peace of mind that child restraints involved in minor accidents will continue to provide a high level of protection.
Most insurance carriers will reimburse you for the replacement of a new car seat if it was in an accident. However, all policies are different and, should you be involved in an accident, you should check with the insurance carrier handling the accident for more details. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of the members of Your Hometown Body Shop!