Facebook Icon Twitter Icon YouTube Icon Instagram Icon LinkedIn Icon

What to Do with a Car Seat After an Accident


When you get into a car accident with a child’s car seat in the vehicle, you have the choice to keep it or buy a new one. Since there are no laws regarding seat replacement or disposal, whether someone should replace a car seat after a crash is up to the manufacturer.

While some car seat manufacturers allow you to keep your seat as long as the accident is minor, others require you to discontinue use and replace it regardless of the severity of the crash. If you have a car seat in your vehicle and have recently been in a collision, here’s what you need to know.

NHTSA Car Seat Guidelines

The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends replacing your child’s car or booster seat after a moderate to severe crash. However, you may not have to automatically replace it after a minor collision, such as a fender bender.

A crash is only considered minor if all of these criteria apply:

  • The vehicle can be driven away from the crash site.
  • The door closest to the car seat was not damaged.
  • No one in the vehicle sustained any injuries.
  • No airbags deployed.
  • There’s no visible damage to the car seat.

Some car seat manufacturers follow these guidelines, while others instruct users to replace their seats regardless.

Car Seat Manufacturers’ Guidelines for Replacement

Remember, no one can inspect your car seat and ensure its safety after a crash. Instead, you must refer to manufacturer guidelines. Here are popular car seat brands and their guidelines for replacement after a collision:

Baby Trend: Discontinue use and contact customer service.

Britax: Replace after a moderate to severe crash, following NHTSA guidelines for a minor crash.

Chicco: Replace after a crash.

Clek: Discontinue using booster seats after a crash.

Combi: Replace after a moderate to severe crash, following NHTSA guidelines for a minor crash.

Cybex: Discontinue use after a crash.

Dorel (Cosco, Eddie Bauer, Safety 1st): Discontinue use after a crash.

Evenflo: Discontinue use after a crash.

Graco: Discontinue use after a crash.

Harmony: Replace after a crash.

Learning Curve/The First Years: Discontinue use after a crash.

Recaro: Discontinue use after a severe crash and follow NHTSA guidelines for minor collisions.

Safe Traffic System, Inc. (RideSafer Travel Vest): Discontinue use after a moderate to severe crash, following NHTSA guidelines for a minor crash.

Sunshine Kids: Follow NHTSA guidelines for a minor crash and offer a crash exchange program for severe crashes.

Will Your Insurance Company Cover a New Car Seat After a Crash?

In many cases, car insurance covers the replacement of car seats, no questions asked. However, the extent of coverage depends on the specific circumstances of the accident and the insurance policy. If you’re unsure whether your car insurance covers a damaged car seat, it’s best to consult with your insurance provider to clarify the terms of your policy and determine your options for reimbursement or replacement.

How to Properly Dispose of a Car Seat

Some cities have car seat recycling programs. However, if you can’t find a place to recycle your car seat, you should dispose of it. To properly dispose of your child’s car seat, you must make it unusable by cutting the straps and removing any detachable parts.

Car Accident Attorneys Protecting the Health and Safety of the Triad

At Daggett Shuler, we are committed to serving our friends and neighbors of the Triad and are ready to protect those injured in a car accident through no fault of their own. During these tremendously difficult times, you need the help of a dedicated car accident lawyer who will navigate the claims process right by your side.

Contact us today by submitting a form below or calling our office at 336-724-1234 for a free consultation.

I would like to take time to thank the staff at Daggett Shuler Attorneys at Law. To Megan Youngblood for helping me get my disability started; thank you so much for everything!

Olivia Winston