Q I was in a minor fender bender coming home from work, and while my child wasn’t in the car, her car seat was—should I replace it to be safe?
The aftermath of a car accident can be stressful for anyone, but as a parent, your thoughts are immediately focused on your child’s safety. The process of getting your car into a shop and dealing with insurance companies can be overwhelming on its own, but factoring in whether you will need to replace your car seat or not can make some parents panic and shell out money to avoid the hassle.
Fortunately, several studies have been done to help make parents’ lives easier when it comes to keeping or scrapping car seats after a crash. Older guidelines suggested replacing car seats after any crash, but new data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has clarified what you should do next by asking these five questions:
- Could you drive your car away from the scene of the crash?
- Was the door closest to the car seat undamaged?
- Did all passengers remain uninjured in the crash?
- Did your airbags remain undeployed?
- Does the car seat appear undamaged?
If you can answer “yes” to all five questions, you will not need to replace your car seat. Any question that you answered “no” to points to possible damage that the car seat may have sustained in the crash.
Because of the strict safety standards for car seats, it is not a good idea to buy a used car seat unless you are able to verify its age and history. Not only do accidents affect a car seat’s protection capabilities, but age can also degrade a seat’s materials—unless you trust the previous owner wholly, do not take the risk of purchasing a used seat.
The good news is that if you do need to replace your car seat due to damage sustained in a car accident, the liable driver’s insurance company will likely cover the cost of a replacement. If you need assistance after your crash getting the compensation that you are owed, contact me today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case.