California requires insurance companies to cover the cost of replacing car seats after an accident. However, you may only need to get a new car seat if you were in a moderate or severe crash.
Damage to a car seat isn’t always visible to the eye. Motor vehicle accidents may weaken the plastic, but this isn’t necessarily evident when you examine the car seat. Strong plastic plays a role in protecting your child during a crash.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists several criteria to determine if an accident was minor. No one in the vehicle can have injuries. There must also be no visible damage to the car seat or the door closest to the car seat. The air bags must still be in their casing, not deployed. You must have also been able to safely drive away from the scene.
However, you must also check the user’s manual for your car seat because some models have different standards on when you need to replace them. Follow the user’s manual over the NHTSA definition of a minor accident. Manufacturers know when their products are no longer safe and must inform consumers. If there isn’t information on this in the manual, then call the manufacturer to ask.
Correctly throwing out your car seat
Try to recycle your car seat before throwing it out. You may find a recycling program in your city that takes broken car seats. If you choose to throw it out, make it unusable by anyone else who might go dumpster diving. You could make the seat inoperative by cutting the straps and removing all detachable parts.
Replacing your baby’s car seat after an accident is important for their safety. If you have a high-quality product that can withstand a minor crash, then you might be able to continue using it. Check the user’s manual to know for certain.