If you were involved in a car crash, you’ll be thankful if your young child wasn’t seriously injured. If your child’s car safety or booster seat doesn’t show signs of damage, you may assume that it’s still safe to use.
That could be a dangerous assumption. Even if a seat doesn’t appear to be damaged, the mechanisms that ensure that it works as it’s intended to may be. That’s why safety experts and seat manufacturers often recommend that people err on the side of caution and replace the seat if a car is involved in anything more than a minor crash, and many insurers will cover the cost regardless of how serious or minor a crash was.
What is a “minor” crash?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a minor crash is one where:
- No one in the vehicle suffered injuries
- None of the air bags (if the vehicle had them) deployed
- The vehicle was drivable immediately after the crash.
- There was no damage to the door nearest the child seat
If all of these things are true, you likely don’t have to worry about a seat that shows no visible damage. However, you may still want to check with the manufacturer.
If you do get a new car seat, be careful about what you do with the old one. If there’s any doubt about its safety, don’t donate it to a thrift shop or give it to a friend. You may want to look for a safety program that disassembles seats and recycles the parts.
If you do need to pay for a child safety seat, remember that the at-fault driver’s insurance should cover the cost. If you have experienced legal guidance, you have a better chance of getting the compensation and justice you deserve.