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How to know when to replace a car seat

For all of the posts we have written on surviving auto accidents, we have not touched upon the topic of how car seats may be affected. Indeed, it is important to make sure that a car seat is in good working order and properly installed even before an accident. But when an accident has occurred, it is critical to know whether the vehicle is in good working order.

The same applies to car seats.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, if a car has been in an accident that was moderate to severe, a car seat should be replaced as a general rule of thumb. However, if the accident was minor to moderate, the seat may or may not need to be replaced. There are several factors that a consumer should consider in these situations.

Did the airbags deploy? - In minor fender benders, such as rear end collisions, the airbags probably would not deploy. Conversely, major impacts would cause the airbags to inflate. In this situations, it is reasonable to believe that  the car seat should be replaced.

Who was injured in the crash? - An accident without injuries (or without major maladies) would probably not require the car seat to be replaced. When no injuries are suffered, it is indicative of the force of the crash.

Does the car seat have any physical damage? - Obviously, cracks in the seat's foundation or significant wear to a seat would suggest that the car seat needs to be replaced. The same could be said for latches that are no longer usable. 

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