How to Know If You Need to Replace Your Car Seats After an Accident

Posted by Artem Martynyuk on

If you happen to be in an unfortunate situation like a car accident, the damage to your vehicle can range from a fender bender to an absolute life-threatening crash. A lot of damage could happen to your vehicle, including your seat belt being locked after the accident or a damaged car seat. Either way, there’s a good chance that your child restraints will need to be replaced or repaired, depending on the severity of your crash.

Replacing Car Seats After a Crash

After you have fully recovered from the accident, it makes sense to deal with the question of doing some repairs to your vehicle, particularly the car seat. If you’ve been in a major crash, that’s almost a guarantee that your car seat needs to be replaced, even if no child was riding in it at the time of the accident. Think of car seats as bike helmets where they are both designed to endure a single major hit. Your car seat may have done its job in a collision, and it may not be able to do the same again if another major crash happens.

However, there are cases where a car seat can be reused after a minor crash. You can determine this by looking into the information on your car seat’s manual. Better yet, contact the manufacturer just to be sure and to ask for some clarification.

Reusing Car Seats After a Crash

If your seat happens to be designed to allow reuse following a minor crash, there are still some considerations to look at. Any car seat subjected to a minor car crash needs to meet the requirements of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA has its own crash criteria that determine if car seats need to be replaced or not if subjected to a minor crash. The guideline quantifies what defines a minor crash. All of the following criteria must apply to be considered a minor crash:

  • 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 airbags, the airbags did not deploy during the crash; and
  • There is no visible damage to the car seat.

Will My Insurer Cover Car Seat Replacement?

If the other party involved in the accident is at fault, or if you have full coverage, your auto insurance may replace those car seats for you. However, this decision largely depends on your specific policy and agreement with your insurance company. More often than not, insurance companies will claim that they only replace child restraints if the crash did not meet the NHTSA’s crash criteria for a minor crash or if the seat was occupied when the accident happened.


Knowing whether you need to have your car seats replaced can be a little tricky. Despite what your insurer says or what the NHTSA’s guidelines mentioned, only the manufacturer can tell you for sure if your car needs to be replaced. It’s best to check your manual and consult the manufacturer to get a definitive answer.

If you ever need repair services for your vehicle after an accident, turn to RepairMySRS. We are an accident restoration company specializing in SRS airbag module reset as well as OEM repair services. Take advantage of our nationwide services available at unbeatable prices. Contact us today to request a service.

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