We Were in a Car Accident. What Now?? (Car Seat Safety/Tips Post)

Everyone believes it won’t happen to them, and we all hope it never does, but car accidents happen even to the best drivers. The important thing is to know how to handle it during and after a crash if you have kids. And in the moment you are scared and mixed up and worried, knowing what to do next is important.
We all heard the story recently about the mom in NSW whose son was seriously injured. He was actually internally decapitated, meaning his spine moved and his head was being held in place by skin and muscles and that’s it. The scary thing that many people are missing in that story is what happened after the crash. His mom just wanting to comfort him, and of course dazed and scared from the crash, took him out of his seat and moved him. He didn’t look hurt from the outside and she didn’t even think about the danger. It’s a miracle that she didn’t kill or paralyze him in that moment of impulse. This isn’t a judgment of her, what it is, is an important reminder that just because someone doesn’t look visibly injured doesn’t mean you should move them.
So if you are in an accident what should you do?
During a crash:
1) Never take kids out of their car seats or move them in a serious accident – Call the police and wait for the ambulance. Just like an adult, kids can have spine and neck injuries and moving them can make it worse.
2)Remove the whole seat if you must move them –  If you MUST move the child because they are in a car with engine on fire or some other immediate danger, remove the entire seat with the kid in it. That way you are less likely to exacerbate injuries you can’t see. In some crashes you won’t be able to unsnap the belts or ISOFIX latches, so it’s a good idea to look into getting a seat belt cutter that attaches to your key chain for emergencies like this.
After a crash:
3) Replace your car seats  – Regardless if there were kids in them or not. They’ve done their job. They’ve already sustained and survived a serious impact, they may not be able to do it again. Car seats should always be replaced in a serious crash, no matter how fine they look. If the car accident was less severe, but still caused body damage to the car check your car seat manual. Each manufacturer has clear guidelines on when to replace a seat, follow them! The rules vary for each manufacturer, so don’t listen to friends or family read the manual and call customer service if you aren’t sure. The reason for this is foams and plastics compress in a crash, straps stretch and plastics can end up with tiny microscopic cracks in it that compromise the ability of the seat to do its job again.
4) Find out if your car insurance covers car seat replacement – Depending on the coverage you carry and the company you are with, it varies as to if and when they will cover replacement. Some will cover full replacement costs on each seat, some give you a set budget of x amount regardless of how many seats need replacing and some say your need a separate insurance rider to cover them as contents to get them replaced (obviously this is something to check out BEFORE you have an accident if possible). But regardless of what they will pay to replace, you NEED to follow #3 above. Do not try to work around it, if they need replacing do so. It’s not worth risking your kids’ lives on a seat that may not work a second time. Also if you have a Safe and Sound seat they offer a crash replacement program so that’s worth looking into if your insurance is being a jerk.
5) DESTROY that seat – PLEASE do not just toss a damaged seat out on the curb for collection. There are some very disreputable people who make a habit of going around on curb side collection days and collecting used car seats for resale. They have no idea if the seats are damaged, but they still go on to the various parenting Buy/Sell/Trade boards and sell them.  Meaning some unsuspecting parent ends up with a very dangerous seat. If you need to bin a seat: cut ALL the straps including the tether and ISOFIX latches, then write in permanent marker all over the shell, Dangerous, Damaged and NOT Safe for use, especially near the dials/stickers. Don’t take a hammer to it, it will likely rebound and hurt you, however a saw works nicely for destroying them as well.
Hopefully all this helps so if the worst happens and you need this knowledge you have it at the ready. Drive safe out there ladies!

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  • […] We Were in a Car Accident. What Now?? (Car Seat Safety/Tips Post) […]

  • […] As for the legs, despite the concern many parents have it’s completely safe to have a kids legs hit the seat and it’s actually more comfortable for them generally as well. There is no evidence of leg injuries from rear facing but even if there were a broken neck far out weighs a broken leg. Ironically in studies most leg injuries actually occur in FFing children due to their legs being violently flung forward in an accident, so even if legs were a big concern it turns out RFing is actually safer. Many parents worry they will be uncomfortable when their legs get too long but most kids will either criss-cross them, fold them in half, put them up the back of the seat , lean them over the sides etc. And if you watch how kids sit, crouch etc they are simply way more flexible than an adult so stuff that looks uncomfortable to us just isn’t for them. On the other hand imagine hanging your legs off a bar stool that’s too tall and has no leg support, now imagine doing that for hours potentially. It get’s uncomfortable. When we turned our daughter at 3 ½ that was her constant complaint. That’s what FFing is like to many kids since their feet don’t touch the floor. So what do they do? They kick your seat, they jam them into your back or they ironically fold them up criss-cross the same way they did rear facing. As for getting them in, here’s something many parents don’t realize. You can loosen your tether every time you take them out so that it’s laying even with the bottom of the seat, thus it doesn’t bar your way at all. Then tighten it back up after you’ve put them back in and done up the straps. It’s easy and it makes a world of difference in getting them in each time. Ultimately if you go with a new A4 seat or one of the other seats in the A2 category that doesn’t rear face quite as long the important thing is to follow the markers on your seat. You should NOT rear face past the top of the marker, the seats are tested that way. You should follow the instructions and if you want to rear face longer look at purchasing a higher limit seat. Some older seats may not have height markers and in that case you have to go by the maximum weight listed in the manual for rear facing, again don’t exceed it. So Yes at the end of the day you can absolutely FF at 6 months or a year or 3 years or whatever, but please don’t believe the outdated info you get from shop assistants or your parents or whoever (sometimes scarily enough even fitters). Read the laws, read the science and then make an informed decision. You may decide what works best for you is 9 months or 3 years or whatever but know the info first before deciding. Take a second to watch this video which explains the science behind RFing. More articles from Amber: Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? Having Babies on Two Continents Living Life Abroad – Peter Panning Life 101 Things to do in Sydney – Parks & Playgrounds edition The Great Ocean Road and Kids…Why I Hate Car Trips… Taking Candy from Strangers – Why Buying a Used Car Seat is a Bad Idea Moving – The Other 4 Letter Word, and Tips for Surviving it We Were in a Car Accident. What Now?? (Car Seat Safety/Tips Post) […]

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