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Why it’s best to discard car seats after an accident

On Behalf of | Oct 14, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

California drivers appreciate how dangerous the roadways can be for motorists and their families. Car seats are mandatory for children under a certain age and must be properly installed and inspected. After a car accident, a car seat needs replacement because they’re easily weakened and damaged after a severe impact. The risk for more future harm increases if a damaged car seat is not replaced. A sudden brake slam could increase the likelihood of a child being propelled from a damaged car seat.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulates vehicle safety guidelines to reduce injuries and fatalities in car accidents. The agency recommends drivers replace their car seats after a serious accident. The NHTSA notes that minor crashes might not warrant replacement, but drivers should follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and if the vehicle was damaged, it’s safest to replace the car seat.

Car crash category

A minor car accident might not require a car seat replacement if your vehicle didn’t sustain serious damage and is fully operational after the accident. A minor car accident means the door nearest the car seat is undamaged; there are no reported injuries to the driver or passengers, airbags didn’t deploy and there’s no damage to the car seat.

A moderate or severe car crash requires a car seat replacement. An example of a moderate crash would be one in which nobody was hurt, but the rear end of your vehicle was smashed. If the front passenger experienced whiplash, but everyone else was uninjured, that is considered a serious car crash, and you should replace your child’s car seat.

Defective car seats

If your car seat’s manufacturer’s instructions say to replace the car seat after any crash and you opt not to do so, it could affect any future defective product claims. Defective product claims can be successful; however, all instructions must be adhered to receive any favorable outcome.