Even though many modern cars, trucks and SUVs have collision avoidance systems, car accidents continue to be strikingly common. In fact, according to Value Penguin, an insurance aggregator, there are more than 5 million motor vehicle accidents on U.S. roadways every single year. Sadly, these accidents kill and injure thousands of children.
Strapping your son or daughter into a safety-rated car seat is arguably the most effective way to keep him or her safe inside your vehicle. Just as you must replace your child’s car seat as he or she grows, you should also replace it after certain types of car accidents.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says car seats that have gone through moderate and severe car accidents are potentially no longer safe for kids. Therefore, it is only appropriate to continue to use a car seat that has been in a minor crash.
For your car accident to be a minor one, each of the following must be a true statement:
- Your car remains driveable after the accident.
- Nobody inside your vehicle suffers any type of injury in the crash.
- Your car’s airbags do not inflate.
- There is no damage to the side of your vehicle that is closest to your child’s car seat.
- The car seat has no visible evidence of damage.
If your child’s car seat is no longer safe because it has been through a moderate or severe car accident, you should discontinue using it immediately. You also should use spray paint or a permanent marker to identify the car seat as damaged before placing it in the trash or taking it to an appropriate recycling facility.
Ultimately, by clearly marking a potentially damaged car seat, you ensure another family does not accidentally rely on it to keep a young passenger safe.