Replacing Child Restraints After an Accident
Regardless of how defensively we may drive, there are numerous ways in which the actions of others can cause a car accident, and leave victims facing a wide variety of challenges in the aftermath of an accident.
Recent accident rates suggest that each of us is likely to be involved in about 4 accidents in our lifetime. There are millions of accidents each year. Hundreds of thousands of people are injured, and thousands of these injuries are severe. In fact, according to the most recent statistics, of the close to 6 million reported accidents in 2012, the NHTSA states that more than 6,000 passengers were injured and 644,000 were killed in these accidents. Fortunately, the lowest car accident fatality and injury rates are among children ages 9 and under. The majority of these low rates can be attributed to child safety restraints. However, after an accident, many people do not realize that these restraints may need to be replaced.
According to the NHTSA, it is recommended that child safety restraints be replaced after an accident that is considered to be moderate to severe. They suggest that doing ensures that the child will experience the highest level of safety in case the integrity of the seat was compromised in a previous accident.
A child’s seat may also need to be replaced after a minor accident. However, the NHTSA does not necessarily suggest that this is necessary. According to one study conducted by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, all seats tested that sustained minor damage in accidents up to 30 mph continued to meet all federal standards even after being involved in four more accidents. The study therefore concluded that there were no cases in which a child’s safety seat was damaged in a minor crash.
According to the NHTSA, a minor crash must meet ALL of the following criteria:
- The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site;
- The vehicle door nearest the safety seat was undamaged;
- There were no injuries to any of the vehicle occupants;
- The air bags (if present) did not deploy; AND
- There is no visible damage to the safety seat