If My Child and I Were in an Accident, Should I Replace the Car Seat?

An accident doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to dispose of and replace your car seat. If you were involved in a minor accident, with no visible damage to the car and no injuries sustained, you may be fine to continue using your current car seat; however, you will likely need to replace the car seat after accidents that are moderate to severe.

All car seats are made of different materials, which can contribute to how well they can stand up to the stress of an accident. It can be helpful to review the manufacturer’s information about your car seat and research how it has performed during and after crashes.

car accident
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Inspecting a Car Seat After a Crash

Before continuing use of a car seat that was involved in an accident, fully inspect the car seat for any damage. Closely examine all anchors, tethers, and buckles as well as the base to verify that everything is in working order and nothing has been warped or bent. Look for any pieces that might be missing as well.

In addition to your own visual inspection, you can also have your car seat professionally inspected.

If there is any damage to the car seat or the structural integrity is compromised in any way, then you must replace the car seat after an accident. Damaged, expired, and unusable car seats need to be destroyed and thrown out. They cannot be given away or donated. If the seat is no longer safe for your child, it is no longer safe for any child.

Replacing Your Car Seat

When searching for replacement car seats, be sure to note the way in which your current car seat was damaged and look for car seats that have a better track record in that department. It’s smart to read online reviews as well as customer feedback from people who have used the car seat and observed its durability firsthand. This detailed information can provide the insight you need to buy a safe and reliable replacement car seat.

Keep this resource handy, and check out our Car Seat Buyers Guide for replacement car seat suggestions to make sure your family stays safe and secure on the road after an accident.


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Celeste Tholen
Written by
Celeste Tholen
Celeste has dedicated her decade-long career to reporting and reviews that help people make well-informed decisions. She oversees editorial strategy and production for SafeWise, with a goal to help people find the information they need to make their homes and lives safer. Prior to SafeWise, she worked as an editor and reporter for KSL and Deseret News. She continues to report on local news as a volunteer with the community paper. For the last six years, she’s led a Girl Scout troop, teaching girls about safety and preparing for whatever life throws their way.

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