Your son or daughter is the most valuable cargo you will ever haul in your vehicle. To keep the young one in your family safe, you should choose a height- and weight-appropriate car seat and use it every time your child rides in your car, truck or SUV.
Most car seats cost between $70 and $200, although you can spend considerably more to keep your child safe. If you are on a budget, you may wonder if it is acceptable to continue to use your child’s car seat after a collision.
Inspect the car seat
To protect yourself, your family and your legal rights, you should take a few critical steps after any car accident. Inspecting your child’s car seat for visible signs of damage is a critical one. To check for damage, first remove the car seat from your vehicle.
Then, carefully inspect all parts of the seat, including its buckles, padding and anchors, for damage. If you see any, you should not continue to use the car seat.
Evaluate the severity of the accident
Even if the car seat appears fine, you should not continue to use it after a moderate or severe accident. This is because these types of accidents may cause imperceptible damage to the car seat.
Here are a few signs your accident was moderate or severe:
- Your car’s airbags deployed
- Someone suffered some type of injury in the accident
- The car was not drivable after the crash
- The door on the side closest to the child’s car seat sustained damage
Your child’s safety is ultimately nonnegotiable. Therefore, if you have any doubts about the condition of the car seat, you should clearly mark it as damaged and correctly dispose of it.