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What do you need to know about child restraint re-use?

One of the most important safety considerations for parents' vehicles is the set of child safety seats and related restraints that they use to ensure that their daughters and sons are secure. Parents often wonder if those items are safe to reuse if they have been in a minor accident.

Here are some answers to when it is alright to reuse safety seats and restraints after having been in an accident. If all of these criteria are met, it may be safe to reuse them. Of course, they should be looked over by a professional first just to be sure so you can completely confident.

Remember, even if your safety equipment seems to be in good shape, you should have it checked by qualified experts and have them affirm that it is safe to reuse. 

What if the vehicle was in too bad of shape to drive away from the site of the crash?

In that case, don't reuse the safety seats and restraints. That degree of damage to your vehicle can easily mean that the safety seats are damaged, too, even if that damage isn't apparent. It's better to be safe than sorry. However, if the vehicle could be driven away from the scene of the accident, read on to see about the other considerations.

What if there were no injuries to anyone in the vehicle?

This is a good sign. This may mean that the accident was minor enough that your safety equipment is in good shape.

What if the door closest to the safety seat was undamaged?

That is another good sign. However, if that door was damaged at all, don't reuse the safety seat and restraints.

What if the air bags deployed during the accident?

In that case, replace your safety seats with brand new ones and have your car looked over by professionals to make sure that the new ones are secure.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Child Restraint Re-use After Minor Crashes," accessed April. 29, 2015

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