Your child is the most precious cargo you ever carry in your car, truck or SUV. To boost your young one’s chances of surviving an unexpected car accident, you should always strap him or her into an age-, height and weight-appropriate car or booster seat.
Because these items tend to be expensive, you likely want to get as much use out of yours as possible. After a collision, though, the seat may no longer offer sufficient protection for the young one in your family. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends replacing the seat after moderate or severe collisions.
Was your accident moderate or severe?
If you have a minor car accident, you can likely continue to use your child’s car seat without worrying about his or her personal safety. What constitutes a minor car accident, though?
According to the NHTSA, minor crashes have the following features:
- The car has no damage to the side nearest the car seat
- The car remains drivable
- The car’s airbags do not deploy
- No one in the accident suffers an injury
Does your child’s car seat pass your inspection?
Even if your car accident qualifies as minor according to the NHTSA test, you should inspect your child’s car seat before continuing to use it.
When you do, look for cracks, tears, breaks or other signs of damage. Also, make sure the seat’s buckles and closures all work properly.
If your child’s car seat passes both your inspection and the NHTSA’s replacement guidelines, you are probably safe to continue to use the seat until your child outgrows it.