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Why Replacing a Car Seat Involved in a Crash is the Safest Choice

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Even if it looks like your kid’s car seat or booster is unchanged on the outside after a fender bender or crash, there’s a strong chance that on the inside, it will never be the same.

“Crash forces are extreme; they’re strong enough to bend the steel frame of the car, and can easily damage a car seat, too. Even though you may not be able to see the damage, the plastic in the car seat could be weakened by these crash forces and may not protect the child properly in a second crash,” report the experts at TheCarSeatLady.com.


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Now, if your accident was on the minor side—the really minor side—your child’s car seat or booster might be able to withstand car rides complete with smashed cereal, spilled juice, and cracker crumbs for the foreseeable future.

According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) on SaferCar.gov, if your car fits “ALL” of the following characteristics, your vehicular mishap could be defined as minor:

  • “None of the passengers in the vehicle sustained any injuries in the crash.”
  • “The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site.”
  • “The vehicle door nearest the car seat was not damaged.”
  • “If the vehicle has air bags, the air bags did not deploy during the crash; and there is no visible damage to the car seat.”

If the crash was deemed “moderate to severe,” the NHTSA experts say that any of the seats involved in the accident should be replaced and for parents to refer to manufacturer’s instructions.


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If your altercation requires a trip to the car seat store, the experts at TheCarSeatLady.com also advise you to talk to your insurance provider.

“Many insurance companies will reimburse you for the new seats. You will likely need to buy the new seat, and then show them the receipt for the new seat in order to get reimbursed,” according to TheCarSeatLady.com experts. “You are not required to replace the crashed seat with the same exact model. For example, if your child was just about to outgrow his infant seat, you could replace the crashed infant seat with a convertible seat.”

News Source: The Car Seat Lady, SaferCar.gov