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Is it time to replace your child’s car seat?

As a parent, you know how expensive it can be to have kids. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average annual cost to raise a child is almost $13,000. If you have more than one young one in your family, you are likely to spend tens of thousands of dollars more every year.

While there are ways to save money, you simply cannot put a price tag on your child’s safety. Even though car and booster seats can be expensive, it is appropriate to strap your child into one every time you travel in a car. Despite the expense, you should also replace your child’s car seat when necessary.

Have you had a car accident?

If you have a minor fender-bender, it is probably perfectly safe to continue to use your child’s car seat. Nevertheless, if your accident is moderate or severe, you should replace the car or booster seat immediately. A moderate or severe accident has one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Damage that makes the car undrivable
  • Damage to the door closest to the car seat
  • Airbag deployment
  • Injuries to anyone

Has your child outgrown the seat?

Car and booster seats must be appropriate for your child’s height and weight. Consequently, you should read through the seat’s owner’s manual to determine when your child has outgrown his or her current seat. You should also resist the temptation to continue to use the car seat after your child becomes too big for it.

Has the car seat seen better days?

Every few months, you should inspect your child’s car or booster seat to be sure it does not have visible signs of damage. Remember, even small rips and cracks can weaken the integrity of a car seat and decrease its effectiveness.

Ultimately, if you have any doubts about the safety or appropriateness of your child’s car seat, it is a good idea to budget for a replacement.