Driving with a child requires a high level of care, as well as some extra safety measures. Car safety seats provide excellent protection for children.

Specifically, safety seats help to protect toddlers and babies during car accidents. Following a crash, however, many parents wonder if they can continue to use their child’s car seat.

Many individuals and organizations have different perspectives on this question. In the following post, we will discuss the things to keep in mind before you decide to use your child’s car seat after a traffic accident.

Is a Car Seat Safe to Use After a Moderate or Severe Traffic Collision?

Many organizations and experts agree that you should replace your child’s car seat following a moderate or severe crash. This is true even if your child was not in the seat at the time of the collision.

The parts of a car seat or its restraints can become damaged from the impact of an accident. Not all damage is visible. So, following a severe collision, it is best to replace your child’s car seat.

Can a Minor Car Accident Damage a Car Seat?

There are opposing views on what should be done with a car seat following a minor accident. For instance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has said that safety seats can be used after an accident in some cases.

A minor collision may not affect the future performance of a child safety seat, according to the NHTSA. Some safety seat manufacturing companies agree with the NHTSA.

Many others feel differently. In fact, most car seat manufacturing companies recommend that parents buy a new safety seat after any crash.

According to the NHTSA, only collisions that meet very specific criteria should be considered “minor.” 

All the following conditions must apply for a car accident to be categorized as minor by the NHTSA:

  • The vehicle can be driven away from the scene 
  • The door closest to the car seat is unharmed
  • No one in the vehicle sustained a crash-related injury
  • Airbags did not deploy because of the accident
  • The car seat has no visible damage

The NHTSA only recommends keeping a car seat following crashes that meet these criteria. 

However, many manufacturers disagree and say that a car seat is unsafe after any crash, no matter how minor. They argue that some car seat damage may not be visible. So even if a child safety seat looks safe, it may not be. 

For instance, the force of a collision may cause damage to the tether strap or lower anchor strap. This type of car seat damage can be invisible. When children are restrained in a damaged safety seat, they are at a higher risk for potential injuries or death.

If you choose to continue using a car seat after a crash, the seat may not provide the same level of protection that it did before the collision.

How Can Insurance Providers Help With Car Seats?

Many insurance companies will replace a car safety seat following a traffic accident. In some cases, the insurance provider will repay the policyholder after they purchase a new seat.

If a child is about to outgrow their prior car seat, an insurance provider may compensate you for purchasing a more age-appropriate model.

Unfortunately, some insurance companies are not so cooperative. If you are dealing with an unhelpful coverage provider, reach out to a skilled legal professional.

Car safety seats are required for children under Texas state law. Because of this, insurance companies should compensate policyholders for this necessary piece of safety equipment if it has been damaged in an accident.

Contacting an accomplished attorney can help to ensure that your insurance provider will cover the cost of a new car seat. If your child’s car seat has gone through a moderate or severe accident, it is vital to replace it.

Attorney Brian White & Associates, PC
3120 Southwest Fwy Suite 350
Houston, TX 77098
(713) 224-4878