Probably. Here’s what you need to know.
Recently my daughter was in a car crash on her way to work (she’s okay). Luckily, my twin granddaughters were not in the car with her when she was rear-ended by a large truck. However, their car seats were in the car. After the accident, I did some research to find out whether we needed to replace child car seats.
One of the first things I found out is that it does not matter if the child is using the car seat or not at the time of the accident. That is not a determining factor on whether they should be replaced. Many people would think that if they were not being used that they would be fine but that is not the case.
The biggest factor is the severity of the accident. In our case my daughter was not seriously injured by the car was still totaled by the insurance company. This made the accident strong enough for us to know that the car seats should be replaced according to the NHTSA.
When Should You Replace Child Car Seats?
The NHTSA recommends you replace child car seats after a severe or moderate crash. This includes even if the child was not using the car seat at the time. For minor accidents, the car seat does not necessarily have to be replaced but you should follow the manufacturers instructions.
The NHTSA considers a MINOR crash where car seats may not need replacing one that includes ALL of the following:
- The car can be driven away from the crash site
- The car door nearest the car seat was not damaged
- None of the passengers sustained injuries during the crash
- No airbags were deployed during the crash
- No visible damage to the car seat
We were told by our insurance company to leave the car seats in the car and they would be disposed of when they towed the car away.
Car Seat X-Ray – Is That Really a Thing?
While doing my research I saw several people online talking about having the car seats x-rayed at hospitals to see if there was damage. While some people attempted this, only a handful were able to find a hospital willing to do the test.
I also was not able to find any official information from the NHTSA or any car seat manufacturing suggesting this as a positive way to see if there was damage or not. Plus, doctors and nurses are trained at looking for damage to humans, not plastic car seats.
Are Car Seats Covered By Auto Insurance?
Another big question we had was whether the cost of the car seat replacements would be covered. There are several factors involved in this as well. It will depend on your insurance provider, your type of coverage, who’s fault the accident was, and any riders you have to the insurance.
In our case, we are being reimbursed by the other person’s insurance company for new cars seats since it was their fault.
Follow This Rule
Even if your costs will not be reimbursed it is imperative that you still replace the car seats if they meet the criteria. Your child’s safety is far more important than the money it will cost to buy a new car seat for them.
Remember, keep those babies safe!