Should My Child’s Car Seat Be Replaced After a Car Accident?
The question came up today about children in a car accident and if a car seat needs to be replaced after an accident. My opinion has always been that yes the seat should be replaced if the child was in the seat during the accident. However I decided I should do some additional research to find the correct answer.
At http://www.carseat.org/ they say “Generally, the recommendation is to replace all safety seats in use in a crash. It is almost impossible to tell if there is internal weakening of the plastic, and it would be very expensive to perform a thorough investigation of the safety seat to verify that it is safe to use. In California, state law requires that the responsible insurer replace safety seats that were in use at the time of the crash. In other states, the insurer of the responsible party may pay for the replacement of the safety seat. If your agent is not aware of the need for this replacement, SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. will provide a letter of support for this position.” They also have some additional Car Seat FAQ’s that you may find helpful at http://www.carseat.org/Resources/FAQs.htm
NHTSA at http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/childps/childrestraints/reuse/restraintreuse.htm recommends that child safety seats do not automatically need to be replaced following a minor crash. Minor crashes are those that meet ALL of the following criteria:
* The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site;
* The vehicle door nearest the safety seat was undamaged;
* There were no injuries to any of the vehicle occupants;
* The air bags (if present) did not deploy; AND
* There is no visible damage to the safety seat
About.com at http://babyproducts.about.com says “Some car seat manufacturers still state in the user manual that their car seats should be replaced after any crash, no matter how minor. The manufacturer’s instructions take precedence over other agency suggestions, so take a look at the manual before deciding to use a car seat after a crash. Talk to your insurance company about reimbursement for car seats. Since safe car seats are required in all states, insurance companies should pay the entire cost of a new car seat. Some companies may try to pro-rate the cost of a car seat based on the age of the damaged seat. Pro-rated compensation is unacceptable, though, since it is not safe to purchase an older, used car seat for your baby.”
Sunshine Kids (maker of the RADIAN car seats we carry) recommends discontinuing use after a crash in the FAQ at http://www.skjp.com/products/radianFAQ.php . The crashed seat may also be eligible for the voluntary crashed seat exchange program if it was occupied during a severe crash in the U.S. http://www.skjp.com/en-US/Customer+Service/Crash+Exchange/Crash+Restraint+Exchange/22
So it seems replacement is suggestion for most all accidents and usually the responsible party’s car insurance should cover the replacement cost. Here is a good article on how to get the seat replacement reimbursed. http://www.ehow.com/how_5221834_replace-car-seat-after-accident.html
Share And Enjoy: