Your children are the most precious passengers you ever transport in your car, truck or SUV. Still, despite numerous automotive safety improvements in recent decades, car accidents remain a primary cause of death for kids under the age of 14.
In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motor vehicle accidents account for roughly 25% of all unintentional injury deaths among children. While the right car seat cuts injury risk substantially, car seats may no longer be safe after car accidents.
If you have had a car accident, you should inspect your child’s car seat for signs of damage. Keep in mind, though, visual evidence of damage may be small. If you see dents, cracks, tears, depressions or any other indicators of possible damage, you should discard your child’s car seat immediately and invest in a new one before transporting your son or daughter.
Even if your child’s car seat appears to be fine, you have additional work to do before continuing to rely on the seat. Specifically, the National Traffic Safety Administration advises parents to discontinue the use of any car seat that has been in a moderate or severe accident. If your car’s airbags deploy or your car is undrivable after a crash, you have had such an accident.
You obviously do not want a damaged or potentially damaged car seat to find its way to another family. Ultimately, if your child’s car seat is no longer safe, you should mark it as such and either put it in the garbage or send it to a recycling center.