After an Accident
Car seats are a one use product, that is once the seat has been in an accident, of any scale, the seat has done what it was intended to do and should no longer be used.
Also over time seats in cars, stored in sheds, or have aged at least six years* may have some degradation that weakens the structure of the car seat that cannot be seen by the naked eye. If the seat is then used, and an accident occurs, the seat may not be able to adequately protect your child.
*Some seats have a limited life span of only six years while others a maximum life span of 10 years from the date of manufacture. If you're unsure how old your child restraint is, or want to know if it has expired refer to our page "Manufacture and Expiry Dates" for more information.
There are no checks available in New Zealand to extend the life span of an expired car seat, or to re-test a car seat for usability after an accident.
It pays to check with your insurance company if they cover child restraints as part of your policy. Could you afford to buy a new seat after an accident if your policy does not cover car seats?
Most child restraint manufacturers recommend replacing a child restraint after any accident, no matter how big or small. Especially if the seat was occupied, has obvious damage or there was structural damage to the chassis of the car.
If your seat shows any of the following, do not use the seat and immediately take it for disposal,
- A broken seat shell anywhere on the seat
- Torn or fraying harness webbing anywhere on the seat
- Glass shards on the seat, under the cover and in small gaps
- Stress marks anywhere on the seat shell, these look like the marks a twisted milk or fizzy bottle get.
Some Plunket Car Seat Rental Schemes offer a free or low cost disposal program, or may occasionally run a promotion where seats are taken for disposal, we suggest that you call ahead first to double check.
|The seat on the left shows obvious damage to the under side of the capsule. This seat would not be safe to continue using.|
If your town offers an inorganic dry collection you can dispose of your car seat this way, however we suggest you do the following
- Remove the cover
- Cut the harness
- Destroy the plastic shell
- Write over the seat "Not safe for use in a vehicle" if you are not able to destroy the shell - please note that people may still try to use the seat shell, this is why we advise that you destroy it using a sledge hammer or similar.
As this prevents them from being re-used, on sold or being given to a family in need.