As a responsible parent, you understand the importance of strapping your child into a car or booster seat every time you leave home. Naturally, as your child grows, you must upgrade to a new seat. If your child has not yet outgrown his or her existing car seat, you may wonder if it is safe to continue to use the seat after a car accident.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides guidance on the subject. Specifically, the NHTSA recommends discontinuing the use of any car or booster seat that has been through a moderate or severe car crash.
Determining the severity of your car accident
If your motor vehicle accident was a minor one, you are probably safe to continue to use your child’s car or booster seat. To know whether your crash was minor, ask yourself the following questions:
- Did your car’s airbags deploy?
- Was your car undrivable after the collision?
- Did your car sustain damage to an area near your child’s car seat?
- Did someone in your vehicle suffer any type of bodily injury?
- Did the car seat sustain damage?
If your answer to even one of the above questions is yes, your car accident was not minor. That is, for purposes of replacing your child’s car seat, you were in a moderate or severe accident.
Protecting other children
Once you have determined you need to replace your child’s car seat, you do not want another child to end up with the potentially damaged seat. Therefore, you should clearly mark the seat as damaged using paint or a permanent marker and dispose of it.
Ultimately, if there is even a small chance your child’s car seat does not offer full protection for your child or another one, your best bet is to purchase a new one immediately.