September 2015 Moms

Minor car accident - car seat

I got rear ended at a stoplight today. It was a low speed accident, no airbag deployment. DD was not with me (thankfully) but I had the car seat base in my car. I know you are supposed to get a new car seat any time it is in an accident but does that apply to even minor accidents with just the base in the car?  I'm thinking I will make the other drivers insurance pay for a new one just to be safe but wanted more opinions. 

Re: Minor car accident - car seat

  • I think it's anytime there is an accident. 
  • I think it's any accident too, but since only the base was in the car, you would only need to replace the base (if they're sold separately). 
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  • I also think it is any accident, and even though it is just the base I believe it would void the warranty.  If you have the manual to the seat you might want to check in there to see if it specifies.

    Also, many car seats can be used without a base using a lapbelt.  My understanding is that it is just as safe, and the base is really just there to provide convenience of getting the seat in and out.  If you are really worried about it but are having any trouble getting the other driver's insurance to pay for a new seat, that is always an option.
  • That's crazy! I got hit in January at a stop sign...didn't even wake LO up. Does that mean I need to replace my car seat? 
  • cait040415cait040415 member
    edited June 2016
    K, you got me thinking!!! I found this at

    Car Seat Use After a Crash

    NHTSA recommends that car seats be replaced following a moderate or severe crash in order to ensure a continued high level of crash protection for child passengers. Car seats do not automatically need to be replaced following a minor crash.

    What defines a minor crash? A minor crash is one in which ALL of the following apply:
    • The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site.
    • The vehicle door nearest the car seat was not damaged.
    • None of the passengers in the vehicle sustained any injuries in the crash.
    • If the vehicle has air bags, the air bags did not deploy during the crash; and
    • There is no visible damage to the car seat.

    NEVER use a car seat that has been involved in a moderate to severe crash. Always follow manufacturer's instructions.

    This makes me feel a lot better! We didn't replace our car seat after my fender bender...but I'm assuming that since my LO didn't even wake up, according to this, I'm good!
  • No, it is not after every accident. Refer to the NHTSA guidelines above. I was in a fender bender three days before my due date and we still have the car seat. As long as it meets the regulations above, you're okay! Don't waste your $!
  • Check with your car seat manufacturer. Some say ALL accidents, even ones without visible damage. A couple brands are safe to use after fender benders, they have checklists similar to the NHTSA above.

    My neighbour had 2 accidents within a month. First time her seats had to be replaced, and they upgraded to Dionos. Afterwards, they backed that car into their other. Diono seats were fine to use, but they had to replace the seats in the other car.
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  • For a minor accident, the insurance company will only pay you if the child was in the car seat, not if you only had the base in the car.  At least that how mines works. 
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  • xcessxtacixcessxtaci member
    edited July 2016
    Honestly think of how these cars seats get shipped around. Through the grape vine I know, companies like UPS or even toys r us employees do not handle them with care. They get kicked dropped and thrown around more than a full season of football. Use you best judgement. Remember A. They want your money & B. They don't want any liability issues.
  • jht4jht4 member
    edited July 2016
    You need to check your car seat manual. Some seats are replace after any accident. You would have to call the manufacturer to determine if it was really a crash. Some seats follow NHTSA guidelines.
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  • It depends on your carseat. It should say in your manual.
  • Can someone please explain to me why a seat would need to be replaced under the circumstances being described here? Seriously, if a car seat would be damaged to the point of needing replacement after a minor fender bender, I would really question whether the seat was really that safe to begin with.

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  • @Lizlann Car seats are designed to absorb energy in the event of an accident, so even in minor accidents there can be hairline fractures that are not visible to the eye which could cause the seat to fail in the future.  If a seat needs replacement after an accident, however minor, my view would be that it did its job of absorbing the energy, rather than that it was not a safe seat.  It appears that most, but not all car seats are recommended to be replaced even after a minor accident.  It depends on the manufacturer, so the manual should give clarification on if replacement is needed.  
  • jht4jht4 member
    Check out the link that I posted above, it gives a good explanation. Not all seats need to be replaced but some do. Even in a minor fender bender, the speed of the car times the weight of the car and possibly times the speed and weight of the other car puts thousands of pounds of force on the belt path and can compromise the seat. Key word is CAN. It may not compromise the seat but you'll never know until you're in a second accident and the seat either works or fails. 
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  • I get the seat needing replacement in the event of an accident however the base needing replacement is ridiculous. If the seat wasn't in the car why would you need to replace anything? I could see if the car was totaled but not a fender bender. 
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  • jht4jht4 member
    edited July 2016
    Not all seats must be replaced after all fender benders.

    If the base was installed in the car then the base took the thousands of pounds of force produced by the accident. If the seat wasn't in the car then the seat doesn't need to be replaced. The base potentially does. Again, your manual will have clear instructions. Either the seat follows NHTSA guidelines and, depending on factors of the fender bender, may not need to be replaced or the seat must be replaced after any accident. If it is the latter, you can call the company to determine if the fender bender is classified as an "accident" and if the seat needs to be replaced.

    Testing for car seats is based on science, not opinion, and there is a right and wrong answer. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for children so this is serious business. I'm not trying to be confrontational at all but I'm trying to post accurate information so people can be well informed and make the best choice for their family.
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