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The Importance of Replacing Your Child’s Car Seat

toddler in a car seat

Keeping your child safe on the road is one of the most critical responsibilities of a parent. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Bureau (NHTSA), car accidents are a leading cause of death for those ages 1 to 13 years old. One of the best ways to ensure their safety is to properly install and use a child restraint system (CRS), such as:

  • A forward-facing or rear-facing car seat
  • A booster seat

Why Should You Replace Your Child’s Car Seat?

Expiration Date

The majority of car seats have an expiration date that you can find written in the manual or on the side or bottom of the seat. This date is usually six years from when you purchased it. This date marks when the manufacturer can no longer guarantee that its components are up to safety and performance standards. The plastic shell might become brittle over time, or styrofoam and cushioning may degrade, weakening its ability to protect your child in case of an accident.

Recall Due to Defect

In addition to normal wear and tear, car seats might need to be replaced if their manufacturer has recalled them due to a defect. Recalled items are unsafe and pose a danger for adults and children alike; therefore, all parents must check their current car seat model against recall notices issued by NHTSA regularly. If you discover that your item has been recalled, contact the manufacturer immediately for instructions on how you should proceed with replacing it free of charge or receiving a refund.

Advances in Technology

Technological advances mean that there are often newer models available with better features than what you already have installed in your vehicle. For instance, in 2022, the NHTSA issued a final ruling to update the testing requirements for child restraint systems. Previously, car seats were only tested for frontal impacts; this final rule created performance requirements to improve car seat safety in the event of a side impact.

Your Child Outgrew Their Car Seat

As your child grows, their car seat will become too small for them and must be replaced. In the United States, the guidelines to determine when a car seat is outgrown are provided by the NHTSA. For rear-facing seats, you should transition your child to a forward-facing model once they reach their car seat's intended weight and height limits (usually around 3 years). Forward-facing car seats, like their predecessor, can be transitioned out of once your child meets the height and weight limit. From that point, a booster seat should be used until they can properly fit into a seat belt.

Recovering Compensation After a Car Accident

At Wallace Pierce Law, our team of experienced attorneys has helped many families recover compensation for injuries suffered in car accidents. If your child has been injured in a car accident due to another driver’s negligence, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. We are here to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Contact us today at (919) 887-7892 for more information on how we can help you.

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