One question I am often asked by parents is if it would be okay to buy a second hand car seat to use for their child. It is not hard to see why a second hand car seat is an appealing option for parents. They are an affordable way to save money on an essential item – but that doesn’t mean you should save on them.
Of all the car seat sins a parent could make, purchasing a second hand car seat is number one. A car seat is designed to hold and protect the most vulnerable and precious person in your life, and to do this you need one that is of a certain condition and safety standard.
Here is why you should never buy a second hand car seat.
The car seat may have been involved in an accident
One of the biggest issues with purchasing a second hand car seat is that you do not know its history. Purchasing a car seat new car seat gives at least one guarantee – its new. Therefore the car seat has not been used and is as safe as it will ever be. Regardless of what an advertisement may say when you are looking at second hand car seats, do not assume that the car seat has never been used.
If the car seat has previously been involved in an accident, regardless of the severity, the car seats safety has been compromised. Even superficial fractures can have a detrimental impact on a car seats ability to withstand an accident.
It is often not possible to find parts for older car seats
A warranty is something that is standard when your purchase a brand new car seat. Warranties are not standardized and whilst some manufactures only include a limited warranty, others will include a lifetime one. This not only brings with it peace of mind, but includes additional support and parts for newer models if/when required. You will also be informed if there happens to be a recall. This is not the case for older car seats.
Parts are often very difficult to find for older car seats as they are usually no longer in productions. Safety standards and car seat designs are constantly evolving, and owners of older car seats will know that one of their downfalls is the lack of parts available for them. It is also complicated to know if an older car seat has been recalled when you are the second owner as it will require you to know the make and exact model of your car seat and search it for yourself.
Car seats have an expiration date
Many parents do not realize that their car seat actually has an expiration date. Under normal circumstances, a car seat can be expected to last up to 5 years. Purchasing a new car seat sets the timer from the beginning – you will know exactly how long you ca use the car seat for. Take a look at the video below on what to be aware of.
Older car seats may be missing information and manufacturer instructions which will prevent you from knowing how long the car seat is expected to last. In addition to this, expiration dates exist for a reason. The parts of the car seat may be degrading and no longer suitable for use. Brittle plastic can have a detrimental impact on the safety of your car seat if you are involved in an accident.
Older car seats may not suit current safety recommendations
Unless you are a car seat expert, there is usually no way of knowing whether a second hand car seat fits the current safety standards. Buying a new car seat will mean that the car seat has to abide by your states current safety standards set out by the NHTSA. You will save yourself a lot of stress by purchasing a car seat that you know abides by these standards.
In conclusion, although a second hand car seat may seem like a great way to save money, I recommend you save your money elsewhere. Safety is never worth sacrificing, whatever the cost may be.