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Do you need to replace your car seat after an accident?

There's no question that a car accident can be jarring. But even after the initial shock, the thoughts of anger and worry may set in check to see if everyone is alright. Of course you may be thanking your lucky stars that you (or your children) were not injured further in the crash, and you know that your car may need to be repaired, but you may have questions about hidden safety issues after a car accident.

While an auto body repair shop can give you some insight on structural damages and advise you on whether the vehicle can be declared a total loss, it may not be able to advise you on whether your child's car seat must be replaced. Nevertheless, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has provided some tips to help you decide whether a new car seat will be necessary.

-          If you were able to drive your car away from the accident scene, chances are that the car seat did not sustain any severe damage.

-          Check the door nearest to the car seat. If the door was not damaged (i.e. severely dented or crushed) it is likely that the car seat was unscathed as well.

-          Was anyone injured in the crash? If the child suffered any physical injuries, there is a possibility that the seat was damaged. Whether the seat was compromised before or after the crash may be a liability question, but it helps in deciding whether a new seat is required.

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