Pennsylvania parents need car seats to keep their children as safe as possible while driving. However, after a car crash, they must immediately throw away the old seat and replace it with a new one. This is to ensure that children remain safe in vehicles at all times.
The importance of replacing car seats after a crash
After a crash, you should immediately replace child car seats because of the way the accident changes their components. The plastic from the car seats can weaken and lose its effectiveness should another accident occur. Even if the seat looks fine, it might not be able to withstand the effects of a crash and protect your child.
It’s hard to determine the extent of damage a car seat experiences after a crash because you usually can’t see it. Always follow the product manufacturer’s recommendations when determining what to do after a car accident. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so replacing your car seat is the best way to keep your child safe.
Recommendations from the NHTSA
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends replacing car seats after a moderate to severe motor vehicle crash. You don’t have to replace them if you’re involved in a minor collision because they don’t suffer the same effects.
According to the NHTSA, the following is true of a minor collision:
- The vehicle must be able to drive away from the accident scene.
- The vehicle door closest to the car seat must be damage-free.
- No one inside the vehicle suffered injuries.
- The airbags did not deploy.
- The car seat hasn’t been visibly damaged.
In spite of these criteria, some car seat manufacturers still advise replacing a seat after any accident, even a minor fender bender. Always go by your product manual to be sure.