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3 times you should replace your child’s car seat

Like many of your friends and family members, you drive every day. If you have children you must transport, securing them in a safety-rated car seat until they are big enough to use your car’s seatbelts is essential for keeping young riders safe. 

Car seats can be expensive, with models ranging from around $50 to more than $500. When you purchase one, you likely want to get as much use out of it as possible. Still, your child’s restraint likely will not last forever. Here are three situations when replacing a car seat makes sense: 

1. Safety recalls 

Even though car seat manufacturers typically try to make safe restraints and comply with all relevant regulations, sometimes, their products fall short. As a responsible parent, you should routinely check to ensure your child’s car seat is not the subject of a recall. Alarmingly, there are currently 32 child restraints under some type of recall for safety or other issues. Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Transportation has a search feature you can use to determine if your child’s seat has a recall notice. 

2. Car accidents 

For a very good reason, you always place your child in a car seat before you start to drive. That is, you want to keep the young one in your family safe. As you may suspect, though, a car accident can weaken the integrity of your child’s car seat. You probably do not have to replace the seat after minor collisions, however. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has published guidelines to help you know when a car seat is salvageable after a collision. 

3. Outgrowth 

Car seat manufacturers have specific height, weight and age restrictions for their products. Every time you purchase a new car seat, you should save the size guide. When your child outgrows an existing seat, he or she may no longer have sufficient protection to survive an accident. Therefore, you should always buy a new car seat before your child outgrows his or her existing one. 

You may choose to replace your child’s car restraint for a variety of reasons. If any of the above apply, though, you should invest in a new car seat immediately. After all, your child’s safety is non-negotiable.

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