Car Seat Replacement: What you Need to Know
Your Child’s Car Seat Won’t Last Forever
The purpose of having car seats is to keep your children safe. Ideally, that should be the case. Unfortunately, car seats can also fail, especially when your vehicle is involved in an accident, or, if it has outlived its usefulness. Believe it or not, car seats have their expiration dates too. And just like everything else that has an expiration date it is essential that you dispose of it and have it replaced once it reaches the end of its life span. Otherwise, continuous use might cause more harm than good.
Car Seat Replacement due to expiration
Car seats are made by different manufacturers, and follow their own safety standards. Accordingly, you should make it a point to read your manual or user guide to familiarize yourself with important information about your car seat, including its expiration date. In general, most car seats usually last for a minimum of 5 years up to a maximum of 10 years. Take note that this is based on the manufacturing date, and not the date of purchase.
If you’re buying a used car seat, make sure you can verify the date of manufacture.
Car Seat Replacement due to an accident
In the past, the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) recommended immediate replacement of a child restraint after being involved in a vehicular accident, regardless of its severity.
After reviewing several studies about vehicle crash tests, however, the NHTSA saw it fit to revise their recommendation. To ensure the continued safety of children through properly functioning child restraints, as well as to minimize the cost and inconvenience of unnecessary safety seat replacement, the NHTSA guidelines relative to car safety seats is now as follows:
Replacement of child safety seats and boosters is required after a vehicle is involved in a moderate or severe crash.
Replacement of child safety seats and boosters will be left to the discretion of the vehicle owner if it is involved in a minor car crash. A crash is considered minor when it meets all of the following criteria:
- None of the vehicle occupants (driver and passengers) got injured as a result of the accident.
- The airbags (if the vehicle has them) did not deploy.
- The vehicle continued to be drivable even after the crash.
- The vehicle door closest to the child safety seat was not damaged.
- There is no visible damage (cracks or other signs of deformity) to the child safety seat, as well as any other easily movable seat padding.
Should you replace your car seat?
Replacing child safety restraints once they reach their expiration date is not something to think about because it is undoubtedly necessary. On the other hand, though extensive research was done prior to coming up with the minor crash criteria, the decision to have your safety seats replaced is still up to you. There’s logic, and there’s instinct. So if you are in any way uncomfortable about retaining your car seat after being involved in a crash, go ahead and have it replaced. A new and 100% guaranteed functioning car safety seat will not only ensure the safety of your child; it will help give you peace of mind as well.
Bring Your Vehicle to Big Sky Collision Center
Here at Big Sky Collision Center, we are in the business of restoring a vehicle’s safety. With state-of-the-art equipment, we can take a look at your vehicle, and determine what is damaged (damage almost always goes far beyond what is visible). Restoring your vehicle to a safe operating condition is the only goal that we have.
If you are using an auto body shop in Billings to restore your vehicle, make sure that your car seat is restored as well. A minor fender bender isn’t going to jostle the seat too much, but a major one will. Check with your insurance company, they may pay for a replacement car seat as part of the vehicle repair payout.
Questions? Give us call at 406-259-6328.