Is Your Car Seat Safe?

A young father strapping his baby into a car seat.

Safety in the car is everyone’s number one priority related to automobiles, a car seat is required for all children. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a long-time advocate for sharing safety information in the automotive industry. The unfortunate statistic is every 33 seconds a child under the age of 13 is injured in an auto accident.

Safety Seats Save Lives

Having a car seat isn’t enough, education on installation and lifespan are imperative so they function the way they are intended to. Proper use of a safety seat is the number one preventative measure to save young children from injury or death during a car accident.

Each state has their own laws about age, height and weight restrictions for the use of car seats and booster seats. Be sure to check your local laws to ensure your child is in the right seat for them. NHTSA can also help you select the best seat for your family’s needs.


Statistics in 2020 stated a staggering 46% of car seats were installed incorrectly.

An owner’s manual is always a great start for installation instructions, but some car seats can be complicated! If you feel lost or need help, reach out to your local first responders to see if they can help. Many police officers and firefighters are professionally trained on safety seat installation. You may also find assistance with State Highway Patrol, the Health Department, Ambulance District and some hospitals. There are resources available to help you find certified car seat inspectors to ensure installation is done properly, they even offer virtual consultations.

When Should a Safety Seat be Replaced?

Did you know car seats have an expiration date? Average life span for a car safety seat is 6 years. You can confirm the exact expiration for each seat in the owner’s manual and or the seat label. Like most things, overtime, car seats endure wear and tear, dated technology and components.

Check for damage regularly. Kids are great product testers! With consistent use a safety seat could sustain damage. Be sure to check for any irregularities and replace the car seat if you notice any issues. Some things to look for: cracks, loose parts, worn, frayed or ripped straps.

A safety seat should be replaced if it is in an automobile during an accident or collision of any kind. Most insurance policies cover a car seat replacement if you are at fault for the incident. If the other party is at fault be sure to ask if the insurance company will reimburse you for a replacement car seat.

As your children grow the needs and sizes of their safety seats change. Car seats should be replaced at this time as well.

Always be sure to check your car seats for recalls, immediately replace it if it is part of a recall. Due to the details from this article it is recommended that you don’t use previously owned car seats due to the above restrictions especially if the seat has an unknown history.

Stay Safe

Arriving safely at your destination with your children can be accomplished easily by following the aforementioned suggestions and tips for car seats. Be sure to check your local laws and use the free resources available to keep your children safe in the car.