Does your child’s safety seat need to be replaced post-crash

Does your child’s safety seat need to be replaced post-crash

Determining whether your child’s safety seat needs to be replaced after a car crash is a critical safety decision. The integrity of a car seat can be compromised in a crash, regardless of whether it was occupied at the time of the collision or not.

It’s important to understand that a seat that has been compromised in terms of safety may not always appear damaged to the naked eye. With that said, not all accidents necessitate the replacement of a child safety seat. Keep the following in mind in order to make an informed decision that will help to ensure your child’s safety moving forward.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides criteria to assess whether a car crash is minor. According to NHTSA, a crash is considered “minor” if all the following conditions are met:

  • You could drive the vehicle away from the crash site.
  • The vehicle door located nearest to the car seat was unharmed.
  • None of the passengers in the vehicle were hurt as a result of the crash.
  • The airbags (if the vehicle had any) did not deploy.
  • There is no visible damage to the car seat.

If your crash meets all these criteria, it’s generally considered safe to continue using the car seat unless the manufacturer of the seat says otherwise. However, if any of these conditions are not met, it’s going to be important to replace the car seat.

If your crash was “minor,” know that different car seat manufacturers have their own guidelines regarding post-crash replacements. After a minor crash, consult the car seat’s instruction manual or the manufacturer’s website for specific guidance. Some manufacturers recommend replacing a car seat after any crash, regardless of the severity of it.

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