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Should I Replace My Car Seat After A Car Accident?
The simple answer is when in doubt, the answer is probably yes you should replace your car seat. Often a car accident, even a minor one can void the warranty for the product. We all know how important car seats are for keeping our children safe in the event of a car accident. Due to increased awareness about the importance of using safe car seats, the number of children that die annually in car crashes has decreased almost 45 percent over the past decade. Unfortunately, thousands of children are still killed in motor vehicle accidents every year.
Types of Car Seats
- Infant Car Seat (Rear-Facing only): Designed for newborns and small babies, the infant-only car seat is a small, portable seat that can only be used rear-facing. Babies usually outgrow their infant car seats by 8 or 9 months. When that happens, we recommend that parents purchase a convertible or all-in-one car seat and use it rear-facing.
- Convertible Seat: As a child grows, this seat can change from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat with a harness and tether. Because it can be used with children of various sizes, it allows for children to stay in the rear-facing position longer.
- All-in-One Seat: This seat can change from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat (with a harness and tether) and to a booster seat as a child grows. Because it can be used with children of various sizes, it allows for children to stay in the rear-facing position longer.
Common Car Seat Mistakes
- Putting your child in a used car seat without doing thorough research to find out if it is still safe: You need a car seat’s full history before you use it. A car seat might look perfectly fine on the outside, but have serious problems. You need to make sure that the car seat has not expired or been recalled, is crash-free, and still contains the full instruction manual. It is not worth potentially endangering your child’s life just to save money on the car seat.
- Installing the car seat too loosely in the car: A car seat is not going to be effective if it can jolt the child around in the event of a crash. You should not be able to move the car seat more than an inch in any direction once the car seat is installed. Make sure your child’s car seat is firmly in place.
- Choosing the wrong seat for the car seat: A car seat should never be placed in a seat that has airbags. Ideally, a car seat should be in the rear middle seat of the car.
- Keeping the harness too loose: If your child’s harness is too loose, they could be ejected from the car in an accident. The straps should be snug across your child’s chest, and there should be no slack.
- Putting rear-facing seats at the wrong angle: Car seats should be at a 45 degree angle in order make sure that the baby’s head does not fall forward.
- Changing types of car seats too quickly: You should strictly follow pediatrician and government guidelines to decide when your child needs a new type of car seat. Any acceleration of this plan could endanger your child.
- Dressing your children in bulky layers while in the car seat: Bulky outerwear prevents the harness from being snug enough to work correctly. Dress your baby in a thin jacket and then put a blanket over your child on the outside of the harness if the weather is particularly cold.
- Forgetting the top tether on the car seat: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety discovered that only about half of car seats were attached by the top tether, because most parents don’t think this is important. Unfortunately, this is a very dangerous decision. The top tether significantly reduces the risk of head injuries in a crash.
- Abandoning booster seats for seat belts too early: Most children can safely use an adult seat-belt at some point between the ages of eight and 12. Parents should not feel pressured to rush this. Unless your child is at least 4 feet 9 inches tall, the seatbelt will hit them incorrectly without a booster seat. It is your responsibility to make sure that they are protected.
- Using car seats inconsistently: You should never skip using a car seat just because it is a hassle to install in another person’s car. No matter how short a car trip may be, your child must be properly restrained for his or her safety.
Contact Our Car Accident Lawyer If You Have Any Questions
Additional Car Seat Safety Information
NHTSA Overview of Car Seats and Car Booster Seats
Attorney, John D. Pascoe and the Pascoe Law Firm, is responsible for the content on this website, principal office and only office located in Friendswood, Texas. Servicing: Alvin, Angleton, Austin, Bayou Vista, Bacliff, Baytown, Beaumont, Brookside Village, Brownsville, Clear Lake, Chambers County, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Danbury, Dickinson, Deer Park, Eagle Shale Ford, El Lago, Friendswood, Fresno, Fort Bend County, Fort Worth, Galveston, Galveston County, Galveston Island, Harlingen, Harris County, Hitchcock, Houston, Jefferson County, Kemah, Lake Jackson, La Marque, La Porte, League City, Laredo, Liberty County, Manvel, McAllen, Montgomery County, Nassau Bay, Orange, Pasadena, Port Bolivar, Port Arthur, Pearland, Rio Grande Valley, Rosharon, Santa Fe, San Antonio, San Leon, Seabrook, Shoreacres, Sienna Plantation, South Houston, South Padre Island, Southbelt Ellington, Taylor Lake Village, Texas City, Tiki Island, Victoria, Webster, and throughout Texas.