Car Seats and Accidents

When/how to replace car seats after an accident.

Don’t change
Big accident little prang
Keep using the old restraint…

What am I supposed to do?

Our advice – replace your child restraints, regardless!

What are the rules?

Technically the Australian Standards for Child Restraints has a clause that says ‘the user must follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the use of the product’. In saying this – the manufacturers in Australia are very consistent with this – Do NOT use. So one could argue that to be compliant you must use the child restraint based on the instructions provided – The instructions clearly say NOT to Use!

What do the manufacturers say?

Infa says – ‘Minor or Major impact – best advice is to replace.’ They even have a handy document that you can provide to your insurer. Infa takes the grey out of the issue – simply sometimes you cannot see the structural damage – even if the child was using the seat at the time of the incident – you just don’t know. Read more on what Infa says here.

Britax hold the same position and do have an Accident Exchange program.

Maxi Cosi and Mothers Choice Manufacturer says the same – ‘In the event of a car accident your car seat may have unseen damage.’ The manufacturer also has an Accident exchange program.

Something that you might not be aware, is that the Australian Standards and Law for Child Restraints has a little clause that says, ‘Refers to the safety and use of the products based on the manufacturer’s child restraints instructions’. You will find that all child restraint instruction booklets have the same message. Do NOT use if child restraint was in the vehicle at the time of the impact and does not define the impact.

Where do I go for help in this area?

  • Always go to the manufacturer and get their advice
  • When talking to insurance companies, when you are armed with the right information you have a better chance of a successful claim

What do I do with the damaged seats?

  • Cut the straps so no one else can use it
  • DO NOT resell the car seat
  • Talk to your insurer about what they would like you to demonstrate on ongoing use

Our advice to you – simply protect yourself and your car restraints in case of emergency.

  • Immediately stop using the child restraint; make plans to use an alternative child restraint or hire one from a reputable company
  • Tell your insurance company about any restraints that are in the vehicle, this includes hired restraints or restraints that are not yours
  • Keep a copy of proof of purchase with your records – photocopy and place in the instruction manual for safe keeping
  • Never buy second-hand child restraints – you simply just don’t know the history
  • Have an ‘IN CASE Of EMERGENCY’ sticker on your restraint with the following information:
    • Age of child – by having Date of Birth
    • Any medical conditions that emergency services may need to know, in case you are not available at the time of this incident

Child safety is paramount.

As a parent you don’t need more stress after being in an accident
We can replace our child restraints but cannot replace our children.

Be safe!

Words by Hire for Baby

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