Second-hand car seats are dangerous

With the number of used car seats becoming increasingly available online, parents could be falling into a trap and unknowingly putting their little ones at risk.

We all know how expensive it is to bring up children and it’s not surprising that parents are shopping around for second-hand items to save money. But buying used items from someone you don’t know carries risk. And the one item you should never take this gamble on is a child’s car seat.

What’s the danger?

It’s impossible to know for certain if a used car seat has been in an accident and relying on a seller’s word is too much of a risk to take.

If a car seat has been involved in an accident there may be little or no visible damage to it, but there could well be substantial internal damage, rendering it dangerous.

How can you tell if it’s safe?

With second-hand seats, you can’t. Just looking at a car seat won’t tell you what you need to know. In fact, the only way of checking a used car seat’s integrity is through laboratory testing.

The fact that many seats ‘look’ OK after an incident leads some parents to continue using their car seats after an accident, unwittingly putting little ones at risk.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) advises that car accidents can weaken a child car seat to the extent that a child is left dangerously unprotected in the event of another accident. They advise parents to replace their children’s car seats immediately after a crash.

What are the options?

Buy new. And make sure that you buy an approved car seat from a respected retailer. All car seats should be EU-approved. You can check this by looking for a capital ‘E’ in a circle, somewhere on your child’s seat.

Or buy smart. If you really can’t afford to buy a new car seat for your little one, says to make sure you purchase one from someone you know and trust. Explain the dangers of continuing to use a car seat after an accident to the friend or family member you’re buying from. Ask about the history of the car seat and be certain that it has not been in an accident before you buy.

Never buy a second-hand seat from internet auction sites, from your local classified newspaper or at a car boot sale. It’s simply not worth the risk.

Does your insurance cover car seats?

Car seats can be expensive. It could be worth your while to find a car insurance provider that will replace your child’s car seat should you have an accident. Some insurance companies offer this service as standard for all levels of cover, while others only offer it with fully comprehensive insurance.

Keep your child safe

Follow these points to keep your child safe in the car:

* If your child is under 12 years of age or under 135cm tall they must have a safety seat in your car
* Always replace car seats after an accident
* Avoid buying second-hand car seats
* If you must buy second-hand, only buy from someone you really trust
* Never buy from someone you don’t know
* Make sure you and everyone using the seat knows how to fix it securely
* Make sure your child’s car seat is EU-approved.

This guest post was written on behalf of Money Matters, the Sainsbury’s Bank blog. The views expressed in this post are those of the author and not of Sainsbury’s Bank. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury’s Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this post. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.

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One Response to Second-hand car seats are dangerous

  1. Amused says:

    How many use car seats are available in very good condition?
    Thousands and stop scaring people in to spending money on new goods when most car seat get very little use.

    Car seats involved in accidents must be a really low figure.

    Got any stats?

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