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Importance of Replacing a Car Seat After an Accident

The Importance of Replacing a Child’s Car Seat After a Car Accident in Bellevue, WA

According to the Centers for Disease Control, car accidents are a leading cause of death among children under the age of 12. In 2018, there were more than 97,000 injuries and 636 fatalities suffered by children in motor vehicle crashes. While child restraint laws require that all children use approved car seat and booster seats for their age and weight while riding in a car, many parents don’t realize the dangers of reusing those restraints after a Bellevue car accident.

If you have been involved in a car accident with a children’s car seat in the car, you should understand the importance of replacing it after an accident.

What is a Minor Car Accident in Washington?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association, or NHTSA, recommends that car seats be replaced after anything but a minor car crash. They define a minor crash as those that meet all of the following:

  • The ability to be driven away from the crash site
  • The door closest to the car seat was not damaged
  • The air bags did not deploy in the crash
  • None of the passengers sustained injuries
  • There was no visible damage to the car seat

Over the years, criteria set out by NHTSA has been changed after reviewing crash tests involving car seats, including those that were previously stressed. Their findings have shown that, in minor accident crash tests, car seats were still able to perform. But in those tests that emulated moderate and severe crashes, their ability to safely protect the child was often weakened.

Why is Car Seat Replacement Necessary?

After a car accident, your child’s car seat may look fine on surface inspection. Car seats are designed for impact absorption. But they are designed for a single impact. Consequently, they may not be able to protect your child in another accident.

Although damage to a car seat may be obvious in some cases, with evident cracks and damage to straps, in others, it is hard to know if the structure of the seat has been compromised. Manufacturers of children’s car seats are usually very clear about replacing a seat after an accident. It is in a parent’s and child’s best interest to consult with the individual manufacturer’s replacement policies for specifics.

Evaluate the Situation Even If Your Child Was Not in the Seat

Even if your child was not in the car seat at the time of the Bellevue car crash, it is still critical that you evaluate its condition before you use it again. If the child seat was empty, it was still subject to the impact and force from the accident. Because a car seat is secured, it absorbs the shock of impact and does not move with the car’s momentum in the crash. This can make it particularly vulnerable to damage, especially to the areas where it secures to the car.

Insurance Company Requirements for Car Seat Replacement

In most cases, your insurance company will require that you replace your child’s car seat after an accident. After the replacement, you can submit the receipt to them to get reimbursed depending on your policy terms. You will want to clarify your company’s requirements before doing so.

Bellevue Personal Injury Lawyers

If you have been involved in a car accident in Bellevue or any of the surrounding communities in Washington, contact the skilled Bellevue personal injury lawyers at Northwest Law Group for a free consultation.

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