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Ask a Trooper: Child car seats should be checked by professionals

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Question: I know people who have been involved in a couple of minor crashes who had child car seats in the vehicle with children in them at the time of the crashes. Do they automatically have to replace those seats? Or can they bring them to a police station or fire hall to have them checked out for safety reasons?

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Answer: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, officials recommend car seats be replaced following a moderate or severe crash in order to ensure a continued high level of crash protection for child passengers. Car seats do not automatically need to be replaced following a minor crash. What defines a minor crash? A minor crash is one in which all of the following apply:

— The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site.

— The vehicle door nearest the car seat was not damaged.

— None of the passengers in the vehicle sustained any injuries in the crash.

— If the vehicle has air bags, the air bags did not deploy during the crash and

— There is no visible damage to the car seat.

Never use a car seat that has been involved in a moderate to severe crash. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions. There are many sources in Minnesota for information about car seats, but I found all this on the NHTSA site at www.safercar.gov/parents/GetHelp.htm

Visit www.buckleupkids.mn.gov to find a car-seat check near you to have an expert help you install your child car seat correctly.

Make sure everyone in your vehicle is properly belted at all times, on all trips.

SGT. CURT S. MOWERS is with the Minnesota State Patrol

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