Did you know that after your car has been in an accident you need to consider whether to replace any children’s car seats that were in the vehicle at the time of the accident? Almost all car insurance companies, including ICBC, will cover the cost of replacing the car seat following an accident. Recently the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration came up with guidelines for when children’s car seats need to be replaced. The criteria were arrived at after analyzing studies conducted by ICBC and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The studies involved subjecting car seats to multiple minor car accidents, noting the damage to the car seat and x-raying the car seats to determine whether any internal damage occurred. The findings of these studies have led to the determination that in a “minor” crash, there is no need to replace the car seat.
A minor crash is defined as follows:
- 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 airbags did not deploy; and
- There is no visible damage to the safety seat.
Only if ALL of the above criteria are present should you not replace a car seat following an accident. If they are not all present, then you must replace the car seat. Remember if you are getting a replacement car seat make sure that you do not transport the child without the car seat while you are getting the replacement. Children are not safe in vehicles when they are not in child specific car seats, appropriate for their size.