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Replacing your child car seat or booster seat

The experts agree that you need to replace a child car seat or booster seat after a moderate or severe crash, but what about a fender-bender? Here’s some guidance on minor crashes and child car seats or booster seats.

If you need to replace your child car seat or booster seat due to a crash, find out how to be reimbursed by ICBC for the cost.

Do you need to replace your car seat after a minor crash?

You’ve had a crash. There wasn’t much damage to your car, and the child car seat or booster seat looks fine. You may wonder if your seat(s) need to be replaced.

It’s important to check the manufacturer’s manual that came with your seat, or search to find it online. It may advise that the seat doesn’t need to be replaced after a minor crash.

What’s a minor crash?

Many manufacturers of child car seat or booster seat products use the guidelines set by the U.S National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to define a minor crash. It’s considered a minor crash if all of these criteria apply:

  • the car could be driven from the crash site

  • the car door nearest the location of the car seat or booster seat has not been damaged from the crash

  • none of the car passengers suffered any injuries from the crash

  • if the car has air bags, the air bags did not deploy during the crash, and

  • there is no visible damage to the car seat or booster seat.

Our research

We’ve investigated what happens to child car seats or booster seats in minor crashes. Our research put new and used child car seats or booster seats through multiple crash tests that simulated a vehicle impact into a concrete barrier at 15 km/hr. They were tested both when empty and with a dummy in place. Then the seats were tested for damage, including X-ray inspections. Even after the equivalent of 50 minor crashes, none of the child car seat or booster seats showed any damage or deterioration.