Does my car seat need to be replaced after an accident?

CSFTLcrash1 300x198 Does my car seat need to be replaced after an accident?

If you were in a car accident, whether it be a fender bender or something much more serious, (We hope you’re all okay!) there is a good chance you will need to replace the child restraints in your vehicle.  While some seats follow NHTSA’s criteria for reuse after a minor crash, and may not need to be replaced after a minor crash as defined by NHTSA as long as all of the criteria are met, most will need to be replaced after ANY accident. Always consult the manual that came with your child restraint, and if you’re still uncertain, contact the manufacturer.

The NHTSA crash criteria are listed below:
* The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site;
* The vehicle door nearest the safety seat was undamaged;
* There were no injuries to any of the vehicle occupants;
* The air bags (if present) did not deploy; AND
* There is no visible damage to the safety seat

CSFTLcrash2 300x225 Does my car seat need to be replaced after an accident?

If the other party is at fault, or if you have full coverage, insurance may replace the car seats for you. In California, there is a section of the insurance code which does require that an insurance company replace a child restraint but only if it was occupied.  Currently, no other state has such a provision. Often, insurance companies will say that they only replace child restraints if the crash doesn’t meet NHTSA’s guidelines for a minor crash or if the seat was occupied. The insurance company cannot overrule the manufacturer’s instructions and they cannot make NHTSA’s guidelines apply to a restraint which must be replaced after any crash.  Often, you will need to supply the insurance company with a copy of your child restraint manual, which can almost always be found online, and sometimes the restraint manufacturer will send a letter stating that their restraint must be replaced. If the insurance company does not replace your car seats, and the manual requires that you do so, the onus is on you. 

Another question you might have is “Am I able to drive home from the scene of the accident with our crashed seats?” Make the best decision that you can at the time.Child restraints that must be replaced as per the manufacturer guidelines should not be used to restrain children as they could potentially fail, leaving the child vulnerable to injury or even death. If you can immediately replace the restraints or have someone meet you with back ups restraints, that would be ideal. You’ll have to use your best judgement after a crash as far a transporting children to a medical facility or back home immediately after a crash. Usually, one of those two things has to happen, and sometimes it’s impossible to replace the seats directly following  a crash. The children need to be transported to a safe place, and they can not ride in no restraint at all unless they pass the five step test. If your seat follows NHTSA crash criteria and your seat has met ALL of the criteria listed above, the seat is able to be used again but would need to be replaced after the next minor crash

Often we’re asked “How do I know if what happened was a crash or just a bump? Was this incident enough to be called a crash?” If you’re not sure if what you experienced was enough to be considered “a crash” then we’d recommend that you call the manufacturer(s) of the restraint(s) and get their input. They may want to see photos or have details and they can help to clarify a seemingly muddy situation.

Here is a list of some popular car seats and links to the manuals, stating whether or not they need to be replaced after an accident. If your seat is not on the list, check your manual ,as all car seats will have a section on what to do after an accident. It is usually listed in the warnings near the front of the manual. Please note that this is just ONE version of the manual. The links listed below may have different weight or height limits than your seats. The links below are simply to show the wording and approximate page number that you should be looking for in your own manual. Some seats do not have an online manual. If you have misplaced yours, please contact your child restraint manufacturer to replace the seat.

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Baby Trend TrendZ Fastback 3-in-1 Buckle Recall

With the same news as Graco and Evenflo, Baby Trend, Inc. (Baby Trend) is recalling certain model year 2011 and 2012 TrendZ Fastback 3-in-1 child restraints, models FB60070 (Granite) and FB60408 (Jellybean), manufactured between October 2011 and July 2013.  The defect involves difficulty in unlatching the harness buckle.  In some cases, the buckle becomes stuck in a latched condition so that it cannot be opened by depressing the buckle’s release button.

buckle2 219x300 Baby Trend TrendZ Fastback 3 in 1 Buckle Recall

Recalled buckle style


It may be difficult to remove the child from the restraint, increasing the risk of injury in the event of an emergency in which a prompt exit from the vehicle is required.


Baby Trend will notify registered owners and will provide replacement buckles when they become available.  The manufacturer has not yet provided the agency with a notification schedule or buckle availability schedule.  Owners may contact Baby Trend at 1-800-328-7363 or visit their website at



Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to


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Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Flipping the male end of a locking latchplate.

FlipBuckle Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Flipping the male end of a locking latchplate.


Sometimes, seat belts with a locking latch plate don’t hold securely if they aren’t at the right angle. If this is happening to your seat, try flipping the male end over and then buckling it, this can help change the angle and correctly engage the locking mechanism.

Read more about seat belt locking  mechanisms here: Lock it Up: how to lock a seat belt for car seat installation. 

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Factual Friday – Broken Legs Myth

While it is said with good intentions, the popular saying “broken legs: cast it; broken neck: casket” is incorrect. According to a study published in Pediatrics, only 1 in 1000 children will suffer leg injuries while rear facing. Making a choice to follow best practice and keep kids rear facing until 3-4 years old is the best protection for their entire body. Forward facing children are 78% more likely to suffer injury overall. ” When advocating for rear facing, focus on the benefits; they far outweigh any potential risk.

BrokenLegs3 Factual Friday   Broken Legs Myth

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How to Use Rolled Receiving Blankets for Car Seat Support

ReceivingBlanket 1024x731 How to Use Rolled Receiving Blankets for Car Seat Support

If your Little’s infant seat didn’t come with head and body supports, rather than using supports that go between the child and seat or harness, try using a tightly rolled receiving blanket alongside the child’s body for support. Place receiving blankets after the child is properly buckled and their harness passes the pinch test.

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Evenflo Buckle Recall

6446 10153978840385084 1921972921 n Evenflo Buckle Recall

Evenflo has made the decision to recall certain models.  Similar to the recall of Graco convertible and combination seats a few weeks ago, the crotch buckle on these seats can become difficult to release.  This recall does NOT effect crashworthiness of the seats.

If you have a seat that is affected by the recall and are experiencing difficulties with releasing the crotch buckle, you can contact Evenflo for a replacement buckle by placing an order, or calling them at 1-800-490-7591.  Evenflo is asking that you NOT return the seat to stores

The following seats have been recalled. If you have a seat with a model number prefix that is included, but is not within the date of manufacture ranges that is listed, your seat has NOT been recalled.

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SecureKid Platinum2

Evenflo SecureKid Review

Evenflo is a long-standing manufacturer of a variety of children’s products.  Among those products is our favorite: car seats!  When Evenflo offered CSFTL the chance to review multiple incarnations of their popular SecureKid combination seat, naturally we said yes! 

Evenflo SecureKid Stats:

sk harnessed 2 Evenflo SecureKid Review

  • Harness weight range: 22-65 lbs
  • Harness height range: up to 50″
  • Top harness position: 18″
  • High back booster weight range: 40-110 lbs
  • High back booster height range: up to 57″
  • Top booster belt guide: 19.5″
  • IIHS Best Bet Booster
  • 8 year Expiration
  • 2 crotch buckle positions
  • Adjustable headrest
  • Can use lower anchors to secure in booster mode

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Have you heard about the Expecting Mom Sale Expecting Mom Sale? We found a few great car seat deals, check them out! To get these prices, you must add the item to your cart. See full details of the sale here. Expecting Mom Sale Expecting Mom Sale Expecting Mom Sale Chicco KeyFit 30 Expecting Mom Sale $151.99

 Expecting Mom Sale Expecting Mom Sale

Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Car Seat, Tangerine Expecting Mom Sale $103.99

 Expecting Mom Sale Expecting Mom Sale

Graco SnugRide Click Connect 30 Infant Car Seat, Nyssa Expecting Mom Sale $103.99

 Expecting Mom Sale Expecting Mom Sale Clek Foonf, Flamingo Expecting Mom Sale $296.67




And if you are an expecting mom, don’t forget you can create a baby registry at Expecting Mom Sale. They have some great incentives including a 10% completion discount (15% for Amazon Mom Members), the ability to add products from any website, free returns for 90 days, and they even have a weekly chance of winning a $500 Amazon Gift card.  

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Kids Embrace, nbb, backless booster, Batman booster, Batgirl, Superman, Surpergirl, low lap belt, seat belt adjuster

Kids Embrace Superhero Boosters

When we heard that Kids Embrace was coming out with a series of superhero-themed backless boosters the CSFTL team was pretty excited!  We’re already fans of the Kids Embrace Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle combination seats, so a backless booster for some of the older kids was a great option.

batbox 300x226 Kids Embrace Superhero BoostersThe four caped crusaders Superman, Supergirl, Batman, and Batgirl are upholding truth, justice, and providing a safe seat belt fit for big kids over 40 lbs and 40″. CSFTL recommends that kids are at least 5 before riding in a belt positioning booster, and the unique fit of this booster makes it best suited for older, bigger kids. More on that in a flash, but first, here’s a refresher on how to gauge if your Junior Crimefighter is ready for a booster seat and if they are ready to move out of their super booster.

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Harmony Booster Faceoff

Harmony Juvenile makes a variety of children’s products, from strollers to play areas. They also have a variety of child seats, specifically, boosters. Harmony offers a wide variety of booster options, their backless boosters sport low prices and features that big kids will love. Remember, most kids need a booster until age 10-12; read more about why big kids need boosters, too. 

We decided to put  all four of Harmony’s backless boosters to the test to see how the Youth, Cruz, Olympian, and Transit all stack up against one another.

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