Frequently Asked Questions About Replacing Your Car Seat Following a Car Crash
The parents of children who are navigating the aftermath of a vehicular accident are often left wondering if they should replace a car seat used by their child because it was involved in a car crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is tasked with enforcing vehicle standards and has found that car seats need not always be replaced after car accidents. In light of the NHTSA’s recommendations regarding car seats, this article answers some frequently asked questions about the important role that car seats play in keeping children safe.
What Role Do Car Seats Play in Keeping Children Safe?
Car seats play an important role in keeping children safe from serious injuries in car crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that child safety seats reduce the risk of deadly injuries by 71% for infants and 54% for toddlers, provided the children are traveling in passenger vehicles. For infants and toddlers who are traveling in light trucks, the risk of deadly injuries is reduced by 58% for infants and 59% for toddlers.
When Should You Replace Your Car Seat After a Car Accident?
If your accident was a serious one, you should replace the car seat. Some parents resist doing this due to cost, however. In a perfect world, prohibitively expensive safety gear would not prevent a child from being safe while traveling in a vehicle. Following a car crash, you can tack on the expense of swapping out a damaged child seat to your personal injury compensation claim. If you are provided with compensation by an insurance carrier, the amount that you receive should encompass the cost associated with obtaining a new child safety seat for your car.
The NHTSA has advised motorists to replace a child’s car seat following a crash. One medically-reviewed article, however, stated that the NHTSA revised its policy regarding car seats because some parents purchased used car seats following crashes to save money; this resulted in an increased chance that motorists were using seats with unseen damage that would not adequately protect their children.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests that seats used by children should be replaced after moderate or serious accidents to maintain a high degree of safety and effectiveness. Car seats, however, need not be automatically replaced following minor crashes.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that minor car accidents are ones in which the vehicle can be operated and moved away from the site where the accident occurred, the door of the vehicle closest to the child’s seat is not damaged, and no one traveling inside the car or truck was harmed in the collision.
Provided the vehicle is equipped with airbags, minor car accidents are incidents in which the airbags were not discharged during the incident. The manufacturers of car seats recommend replacing car seats following any car crash. While some manufacturers only recommend replacing car seats after major accidents, most manufacturers follow the NHTSA guidelines and suggest that car seats be replaced after moderate crashes, as well.
Is it Okay to Continue Using a Child Seat That Was Involved in an Accident?
Motorists should avoid using a child seat that was part of an accident that was moderate to serious. What necessitates replacing a child seat depends on the make and model of the item and the nature of the impact. This is why it is a good idea to always follow your specific car seat manufacturers’ instructions.
How are Car Seats Impacted by Car Crashes?
Even a child that was properly secured in a vehicle encounters crash forces during a car accident. The momentum of a child’s seat being jostled during a collision while being restrained can lead to damage that might be hard to spot but which makes the child seat unable to perform appropriately if you end up in another accident later on.
What Car Seat Advice Should You Take After an Accident?
If you are ever in doubt, it is best to be cautious and replace a car seat following a car crash. If you think even a chance exists that the seat might have been damaged, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Remember, a licensed technician can perform an inspection of a car seat without charging a fee. During this time, the technician can show you to appropriately install a car seat for your child.
Provided that you pursue a claim with an insurance carrier following a crash, the cost associated with replacing a damaged child seat will likely represent a portion of your insurance claim. In documenting the crash, you should make sure to retain any photos of damage to your vehicle’s exterior and interior, including your car seats.
Contact an Experienced Accident Attorney
If you need assistance following a car crash or are curious about whether you can obtain compensation from the other party involved in your accident, you should promptly contact an experienced accident attorney. Do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe LLP today to schedule a free case evaluation.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900