Parents should be warned that child safety seats should replaced after a crash when there is more than minor damage.
Approximately one in 10 vehicles on the road have a car seat or a child passenger under the age of seven who should be in a car seat or booster seat, according to NHTSA. When considering that, on average, a driver has a car crash once every seven years, it’s highly likely that a child under the age of seven may be in a crash.
While most drivers immediately plan to repair or replace the vehicle after the crash, they don’t always consider that the forces that damaged their car also could have damaged their child’s car seat or booster seat. In crashes beyond a minor fender bender, NHTSA recommends replacing a car seat after a crash, especially because damage to the car seat might not be visible.
CARSTAR and Evenflo have teamed up for Child Passenger Safety Week to educate parents and caregivers about car seat replacement after a crash.
“As a mother of twin boys, you always want to make sure your children are protected in the car,” said Shannon Spake, Fox Sports host who covers football, basketball and motorsports. “When your car is involved in a crash, it’s just as important that you take care of your car seat or booster seat as it is to address the car damage. CARSTAR and Evenflo want to make sure parents everywhere are aware of the potential need to replace their car seat or booster seat after a crash.”
NHTSA provides guidance about what may constitute a minor crash. In some cases, depending on the guidance of the car seat manufacturer, a car seat involved in a minor crash may not need to be replaced. A minor crash is one in which ALL of the following apply:
- The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site
- The vehicle door nearest the car seat was not damaged
- None of the passengers in the vehicle sustained any injuries in the crash
- If the vehicle has air bags, the air bags did not deploy during the crash
- There is no visible damage to the car seat
If any of these conditions aren’t met, the crash would be considered moderate. NHTSA recommends that drivers NEVER use a car seat that has been involved in a moderate to severe crash. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions.
“CARSTAR is committed to repairing accident damage and getting families back on the road in a safe vehicle, and the child safety seat is a major part of that vehicle’s safety system,” said Dean Fisher, Chief Operating Officer for CARSTAR. “Any time you’re replacing sheet metal, bumpers, air bags and other safety systems, you’ve been in an accident hard enough to damage the car seat. It’s a cost that many insurance policies cover, so it’s always smart to replace the car seat and ensure your child is safe and protected on the road.”
Evenflo recommends that consumers contact their car seat manufacturer if they have questions about car seat replacement after a crash.
“Crash damage to a car seat or booster seat may not always be visible,” said Evenflo Safety Advocate Sarah Haverstick. “Damage can occur even if the child restraint is unoccupied during the crash. If a consumer has a question about whether their car seat should be replaced, it is important to contact their car seat manufacturer directly for guidance.”
Evenflo offers additional child passenger safety tips:
- Make sure your child’s age, weight and height are within the requirements for any car seat you are considering for purchase
- Check the NHTSA guidance to help determine what type of car seat is appropriate for child’s size and development level
- For help with car seat installation and use, contact your car seat manufacturer or find a certified child passenger safety technician near you