Installing New Car Seats After a Crash
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Installing New Car Seats After a Crash

Tuesday, December 11, 2018By Richard Alexander

If you have been involved in a crash, you might be wondering what to do with the car seats that were in the vehicle at the time of the impact. In the past, experts have advised that car seats be replaced after a crash regardless of the type of crash or the extent of the damage, but recommendations have now changed. New criteria have been established to determine whether a car seat is safe to sue following a collision.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) advises that car seat replacement is necessary only for moderate to severe car crashes. If you were involved in a minor crash, chances are you can keep using your old car seat. The agency set forth five criteria for determining when a crash is regarded as minor. They are:

  • The driver could drive the car way from the site of the accident and did not require towing services;
  • The door in closest proximity to the car seat was not impaired;
  • None of the passengers in the car incurred any injuries;
  • The car’s airbags did not deploy. This requirement pertains to front, side, seat belt, and seat side airbags; and
  • The car seat was not damaged in any way. This means that the car seat shows no evidence of cracks, dents, broken stitching, stress marks or broken parts.

The NHTSA warns that if the car seat does not satisfy all five criteria, then the driver must purchase a new seat. This recommendation applies regardless of whether the child was in the car seat at the time of the collision because the impact of the crash could still compromise the safety of the car seat.

Many manufacturers continue to recommend car seat replacement after any crash whether minor or severe. The agency states that the manufacturer’s guidelines should always be heeded despite these new recommendations. One of the largest manufacturers of car seats, Graco, advises that consumers replace car seats after any crash event since the car seat might have been damaged in ways that are not detectable to the observer. Other car seat manufacturers advise consumers to follow the NHTSA’s guidelines.

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