Crashes And Car Seats—What You Need To Know
If you have children, you have likely spent countless hours reading safety reviews and shopping in a store or online for the perfect car seat to keep your little one safe. Car seats are so important because they help prevent serious injury and death in the event of a collision. Hopefully, you never have to experience a car crash, but if you do, there are several things you need to know about your child’s car seat in order to keep your child safe.
How do I make sure my child’s car seat is installed correctly?
In the Charlotte area, Safe Kids Charlotte Mecklenburg is a group of local agencies that provide services focused on child safety. One of those services is car seat safety checks. There are certain local police departments and fire departments where you can take your car seat and have a certified technician inspect and help install your car seat. They will also show you how to properly adjust the buckles and straps to ensure your child is properly restrained in their car seat. These car seat safety checks are free, but donations are accepted. Knowing that your child’s car seat is properly installed not only gives you peace of mind but more importantly, it helps keep your child safe in the event of a collision. Dates, times, and locations for car seat safety checks can be found on the Safe Kids Charlotte Mecklenburg calendar.
Should my child’s car seat be replaced after a collision?
If you are in a crash and your child is in the vehicle or even if their car seat is in the vehicle, you will most likely need to replace your child’s car seat. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends “car seats be replaced following a moderate or severe crash in order to ensure a continued high level of crash protection for child passengers.”
The NHTSA defines a minor crash as a crash in which ALL of the following apply:
- You were able to drive your vehicle from the crash site;
- The vehicle door nearest your child’s car seat was not damaged;
- None of the passengers in your vehicle sustained any injuries in the crash;
- If your vehicle has airbags, the airbags did not deploy during the crash; and
- There is no visible damage to your child’s car seat.
However, even if your crash fits all five of the above criteria, you still need to look at the user manual and instructions from the car seat manufacturer to confirm the manufacturer does not recommend the car seat be replaced in the event of a minor collision. If the manufacturer of your child’s car seat recommends replacing the car seat—replace it!
Who pays the cost of replacing my child’s car seat?
If your child’s car seat needs to be replaced, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will be responsible for paying the cost of replacing the car seat. The replacement cost of the car seat will be part of your property damage claim. Often it is not practical or possible to wait on the at-fault driver’s insurance company to send you a check for the car seat before you purchase a replacement. Instead, it generally works best if you go ahead and replace the car seat and then submit the receipt to the at-fault driver’s insurance company for reimbursement.