Should You Replace Your Child’s Car Seat After an Accident?

If you have been involved in a car accident, you may be wondering if you need to replace your child’s car seat. The old recommendation was to always replace car seats after an accident, regardless of the extent of the crash. However, this is no longer what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends. Instead, the agency has set forth a list of criteria for determining whether you should replace your child’s car seat after an accident.

Please note that all five of these criteria must apply in order to safely continue using your child’s car seat. If even one of them does not apply to your crash, you need to replace the car seat before transporting your child in the vehicle again.

The following are 5 criteria that must be met in order to continue using a car seat after a crash:

  1. You drove the vehicle away from the accident. If the car had to be towed away from the crash site, the car seat must be replaced.
  2. The door nearest the car seat was not damaged. In the case of a vehicle with a third row, the closest door in the second row, or the vehicle’s back door, would be considered the nearest doors.
  3. No one in the vehicle suffered injuries in the crash. That means that even if the driver was the only one who suffered an injury, and the car seat was in the third row, the car seat should still be replaced.
  4. The vehicle’s airbags did not deploy during the crash.
  5. The car seat has no visible damage.

Note that if any one of these criteria are not met, then the car seat should be replaced, regardless of whether or not your child was riding in it at the time of the crash. An empty car seat can still be damaged by the forces of an accident.

If all five of these criteria are met, then you do not have to replace your child’s car seat after an accident. The only exception is the car seat manufacturer’s instructions. If your car seat manual requires that the car seat be replaced after any accident—even a minor one—then that recommendation takes precedence.

Our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout the California Low Desert and High Desert communities for over 30 years. With a 95% success rate, the California personal injury attorneys at Walter Clark Legal Group will fight to hold those responsible for your loss accountable and win compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have been injured in an auto accident and want to discuss your legal options, contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. We have offices in Indio, Rancho Mirage, Victorville, El Centro, and Yucca Valley, and represent clients through the entire California Low Desert and High Desert communities.

DISCLAIMER: The Walter Clark Legal Group blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported comes from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these accidents choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.

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