Should You Replace Baby’s Car Seat After a Crash?

A car seat is intended to save your child’s life in case of an accident. It does so by
cradling their heads thus preventing their weak spines from snapping or their pelvic bones from crushing into their little internal organs. So yeah , a car seat is very important.

Installing it correctly is just one part , you have to be sure that you are using it correctly and that it is the right size and age/weight limit for your child. You also have to be 100% sure that the car seat has not expired and you have to think about what will happen to your car seat if you do get into an accident.

If your baby was not in the car at the time of the accident and your car is not a complete
write off , there are still factors you may need to consider as the car seat may have
damages that will compromise its ability to keep your little one safe.

How to know that you may need a new car seat after an accident. Here is a
simple checklist:

  • If anyone was hurt, you need a new car seat. It’s really that simple.
  • Did the airbags deploy? If they did, then you need to replace your car seat.
  • Although deployment of airbags does not always happen during a major accident.
  • Was the door on the side of the car seat hit? If it was hit, then you need to get
    your child a new car seat.
  • Were you able to drive away in the same vehicle after the accident? If so, a
    minor accident may not need for you to replace your car seat.
  • Can you see any damages? If you are able to see any damages to the seat such
    as the plastic looking whiter, dents, scrapes or small fractures then please get a
    new car seat.

The guidelines above have been set by The National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration. These guidelines apply to any car seat that has been involved in an
accident (even if there was no child in it at the time).

Several tests have been done by various agencies on car seats using sleds with
different speeds (up to 40 miles per hour) and then tested again to access if a damaged
seat is more likely to fail in case of another accident (it will).

Car seats in Minor accidents, like those tested at 9 miles per hour and passed the
accident checklist did not show any damage but if you are worried, then you may get another car seat to give you peace of mind (there are some manufacturers who will
recommend replacement even after a minor accident).

One last thing, if the accident was not your fault and you need to replace your car seat,
the other driver’s insurance should pay you the cost of getting a new car seat. This
however may be different per state due to varying insurance laws.

7 Car Seat Rules To Keep Your Baby Safe

infant car seat safety

There are so many car seats to choose from and buying just the right one can be
overwhelming.

A car seat is however perhaps the most important purchase you will make. If you are the kind of person who is conscious of budgets, cut costs on other baby items like swings, fancy cribs, etc. A car seat can and will save your child’s life. We hope these 7 rules to buying a car seat will help 🙂

You don’t need a pretty car seat; you need a safe car seat.


A car seat may look nice, but if your child does not fit in it, it will not keep them safe. The car seat may even out them at more risk. When it comes to travel systems, most car seats will fit with different strollers. A stroller and car seat are separate purchases (but you do need to consider compatibility).

Always try the seat out before you buy, or make sure you can return it.

Try the car seat out before you buy it or ensure that you can return it. The only way to know that a car seat fits is to try it. You can call the store ahead of time and ask if they will let you test the seat. If you buy a car seat online, be sure that you understand their return policy and that it works for you.

Buy a new car seat

If you are not clear on whether the car seat has been recalled, expired or if it is generally in good condition, just get a new car seat. Only buy a used car seat from someone you would trust with your child’s life.

If it didn’t come with car seat, you don’t need it.

car seat toys
All those cute toys and add-ons are potentially dangerous. They also take away any liability from car insurers should the seat fail you. These toys are considered illegal in most states. So when it comes to toys, pillows and add-ons don’t waste your money.

Always Read the Manual.


The manual is your car seat bible. All the questions you have about the car seat are answered in the manual. Go through it before you buy the seat and keep it for reference. Should you misplace it, call the manufacturer, order a new one or get an online version.

The best car seat install is the safest.


The seat belt isn’t safer than LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) and vice versa. That said, you can’t use both at the same time. The middle of the backseat is generally safer than the sides. Where and how you get the best install will determine the safest install for your car seat.

Ask a CPST for help with a proper install


Call 1-866- SEAT-CHECK or visit safekids.org to find a certified technician. The manufacturers number is always on the manual so you can call them as well. When in doubt about anything, always ask for help.