Getting in a car accident is never on anyone’s agenda – but it happens. It is even scarier when a baby or young child is in the car with you. Thankfully, the car seats and child restraints manufactured today are done so with greater safety measures to keep your young one safe during a crash.
Whether you have experienced a minor fender bender or a motor vehicle accident that is much more serious, the car seat may look untouched. But is it still safe? This prompts the question: Can you reuse a car seat after an accident?
PROTECTING OUR CHILDREN
Using the proper car seat is an important part of keeping children safe while riding in a motor vehicle. While you can’t always avoid an accident, you can take the necessary steps to protect young ones should it happen.
Section 316.613 of Florida Statutes states:
- (1)(a) Every operator of a motor vehicle as defined in this section, while transporting a child in a motor vehicle operated on the roadways, streets, or highways of this state, shall, if the child is 5 years of age or younger, provide for protection of the child by properly using a crash-tested, federally approved child restraint device.
- 1. For children aged through 3 years, such restraint device must be a separate carrier or a vehicle manufacturer’s integrated child seat.
- 2. For children aged 4 through 5 years, a separate carrier, an integrated child seat, or a child booster seat may be used.
Not using proper child restraints can lead to serious injury and even death of the child in an accident – even a minor one. So knowing when to replace the car seat after an accident is crucial.
THE SEVERITY OF THE ACCIDENT
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has set forth recommendations regarding the use of car seats after a crash. They do so based on the severity of the accident – minor, moderate, and severe.
Minor accidents are those that cause only slight damage to the vehicle without impeding its ability to continue to operate normally and do not cause injury.
Moderate accidents involve a little more damage to the vehicle. These may not leave the car at a total loss, but the damage makes the vehicle unable to be used. Examples of moderate accidents include deployed airbags, large dents, shattered windows, jammed doors, and so forth. Injuries are a greater threat in moderate accidents.
Severe accidents are, of course, one of the worst types of accidents. They will leave the car undrivable – and often consider it a total loss. Accidents such as head-on collisions, multi-vehicle pile-ups, rollovers, and the like are found to be severe. And they can cause serious injuries and even fatalities.
According to the NHTSA, car seats that were involved in minor car accidents should be fine to be reused. However, those that were involved in moderate to severe accidents should be discarded.
Regardless of the NHTSA guidelines, car seat manufacturers often have stricter recommendations regarding reuse of their car seats after a crash. These manufacturer recommendations should be checked along with the NHTSA recommendations.
The safety of our child should always be our priority. Whether or not you need to replace your child’s car seat following a crash depends on the type of crash, as well as the NHTSA and seat manufacturers guidelines.
Minor accidents, such as fender benders, likely won’t cause any damage to the car seat. Though you may want to do a thorough inspection of it to make sure it is all still intact.
However, if you were involved in a moderate to a severe accident, most definitely replace your child’s car seat. Even if it looks like it is fine, the impact of the crash may compromise the integrity of the device. Continuing to use a car seat that was involved in such an accident is not worth the risk – invest in a new one. It is worth noting that most car insurers will compensate you for a car seat replacement. If you are in doubt, it is definitely worth reviewing your policy and taking advantage of this if available.
Manufacturers know the ins and outs of their car seats better than anyone. As technology becomes more advanced, additional safety features are often added to help protect our children in a car crash. After a car crash, regardless of severity, you should review the manufacturer’s guidelines to determine whether your car seat needs to be replaced.
Interested in a second opinion? If you aren’t too sure that your device will keep your child safe, you can take advantage of Florida Child Passenger Safety Seat Fitting Stations offered by the Florida Department of Transportation. They can perform a car seat check that will ensure your child is secure.
CONTACT PRESSER LAW AFTER YOUR ACCIDENT
If you or your child have been injured in a car accident, contact car accident attorney Presser Law for a free review of your case. With over a decade of experience in handling car accident and personal injury cases throughout Central Florida, you can trust a high level of experience to handle your case.
Accidents are scary, especially when your child was a victim, too. Don’t settle for anything less than the compensation you deserve. Call Presser Law today at (407) 216-2000. Let our award-winning car accident lawyer go to work for you.
GET YOUR FREE CAR ACCIDENT, INJURY OR WRONGFUL DEATH CASE REVIEW WITH AN EXPERIENCED ATTORNEY TODAY
If you have been injured in a car accident or recently lost a loved on, contact Presser Law for a free case review with an attorney to determine your legal rights. For over 10 years, Justin Presser has represented car accident and injury victims throughout Central Florida in their times of need and he would be honored to help you as well.
About Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney Justin H. Presser
Justin H. Presser is an award-winning lawyer and founder of Presser Law, P.A. representing clients in the areas of personal injury, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, wrongful death and more. With an office located in Altamonte Springs, Florida, Presser Law, P.A., proudly services clients throughout Central Florida including the following areas: Orange County including Orlando, Ocoee, Doctor Phillips, Apopka, Winter Garden, Winter Park, Maitland, College Park, Thornton Park; Seminole County including Altamonte Springs, Longwood, Winter Springs, Lake Mary, Oviedo, Casselberry, Chuluota; Lake County including Clermont, Mount Dora, Eustis, Tavares, Leesburg, Sorrento; and Brevard County including Melbourne, Merritt Island, Cocoa Beach, Titusville, Palm Bay.
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