According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), child safety seats should be replaced after a moderate or severe crash, but do not necessarily need to be replaced after a minor crash. In order to qualify as minor, a crash must meet the following criteria:
ALL of the following criteria must be met:
- The vehicle was able to be driven after the crash
- The vehicle door nearest the child safety seat was not damaged
- The vehicle occupants did not sustain any injuries
- The air bags did not deploy; and
- There was no visible damage to the child safety seat
To read more about NHTSA’s position, click here.
Some child safety seat manufacturers recommend replacement of their products regardless of the type of crash. So to play it safe when your child safety seat has been in a crash, check the instructions that came with your child safety seat for replacement guidelines.
If your car seat has been in a crash, make sure to check with your insurance company. Many insurance companies will replace a child safety seat that has been involved in a crash.