Car Seat Safety

Parent Q&A

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  • I'm in my third trimester of pregnancy and was the not-at-fault party in an accident recently. The damage was extensive enough that the car had to be towed away after the accident. Our car was a Prius we bought new barely over a year ago and had less than 10,000 miles on it. I'm already getting the sense that our insurance company is going to try to settle this quickly with the other party, and I don't have full confidence we will come out of this on par with what we had moments before the accident, not to mention the hassel and anxiety of going through the ordeal. Given that no one wants to buy cars that were previously in accidents, how do I know it will be as safe as possible to drive my children in, even once it's repaired? The insurance company doesn't want to replace the car seat because it was unoccupied (thankfully!!) at the time of the crash, unless there's "damage". How do I assess that? I'm not completely risk averse, but my children's safety is not something I'm willing to gamble a penny on. I love our car, I'm not a litigious person, and the other driver seemed like a perfectly decent human being, but I don't want to end up way behind because of something that was not my fault. I'd love to hear any advice from anyone who has gone through anything similar!

    Hi there,

    I was in a car accident when I was 39 weeks pregnant, with my toddler in the back seat. Thankfully, no one was hurt, and my healthy baby was born the following week. A truck went through a red light in an intersection, and hit us at an angle so the car’s frame was torqued.  Our car was also relatively new (a Subaru Outback, we’d had it less than a year), and we were also concerned about safety due to the torqued frame. They basically rebuilt the car, with a new frame, and gave it back. We never had any issues with it. Insurance paid for the repair, a new car seat, and a rental car stipend during the repair period. Even though we were reimbursed for everything, it was really stressful! Pregnancy is a stressful time anyway, without the added stress of a car accident and all that goes with it. We didn’t ask for any money other than reimbursement for costs because frankly, I didn’t have the energy and I was just so thankful everyone was ok. I think you should absolutely get a new car seat, and you shouldn’t have to pay for it — either the person who hit your car should pay for it directly, or their  insurance company. As for selling a car that has been in an accident: We ended up trading our car in for a Mini Cooper at the dealership 5 or 6 years later and it wasn’t an issue. I mean, we didn’t get much for it because it was very definitely The Family Car! I’m glad you’re ok! Hope this helps. 

    You must insist the insurance company replaced the car seat. I just went through this and send them the excerpt from the car seat manual and safety regulations I found online which state that if the seat is involved in an accident it must be replaced even if there is no visible damage. They reimbursed me after I sent them screenshots. 

    I was in a car accident in a car that we had owned for less than 1 month with an unoccupied car seat. The manufacturer's recommendations are always that you replace the car seat after a moderate or severe accident, even if it was unoccupied or shows no obvious signs of damage (…). Your accident definitely sounds moderate or severe. Unfortunately, the car insurance company is not strictly required to pay to replace the car seat. Ours did, but they didn't pay for a rental car while we found a new car, so it really depends on how generous your insurance is. I would immediately purchase a new car seat (you can often trade in old car seats to get a discount on a new one at stores), and then submit the receipt to the car insurance company and pressure them. No guarantees they'll pay up, but it's still worth replacing. In terms of the car itself, as long as the repair is done by a reputable body shop (try to find one that issues a warranty on their work!), it should be fine. My insurance company didn't consider our car worth repairing and totaled it...

    Sorry to hear about the accident.  My mom's car was in a hit and run (no one was in the car) and her insurance company did replace my son's car seat.  She didn't even think to ask them to do that-- they automatically sent her reimbursement for another car seat.  Just tell them that they need to replace it because the safety of your children would fall on them should another accident happen and the car seat didn't do it's job.


    I'm an insurance agent and I am absolutely stunned that your insurance company would not replace the seat.  Recently a client of mine momentarily took his foot off the brake at a stop sign, and rolled into the car in front of him.  The only damage on the other car were puncture marks from the bolts that held my client's license plate to the bumper.  There was a car seat in the other car and we are replacing that car seat.  Your insurance company should do the same.

    I'm surprised the insurance won't replace the carseat. When my daughter was 3 months our car was hit from behind (the car was parked on the street so no one was inside) and the base to her infant car seat was in the car. My insurance told me they would inspect the base for damage to see if we should replace it. I got the impression they didn't even look at it and just had us buy a new one and issued a check for reimbursement. It's pretty cheap insurance for them to replace. If something ever happens due to a potentially faulty carseat they could be sued big time. I hope this never happens but usually people prefer to be safe than sorry when it comes to chlidren.