Buying a safe second-hand car seat means knowing exactly what the guidelines are when trawling through Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace or checking out local swap groups in your search. There’s no end to the lists of bargains out there, so remember these rules-of-thumb before you buy.
Buying second-hand car seats: Check the history first!
All car seats must be disposed of if the car was in an accident of any kind.
Even if the seat looks fine, there may be damage you can’t see. This could compromise the seat in the event of an accident. And, as a new parent, you sometimes don’t know what the product “should” look like and what should come with it.Unfortunately there are no guarantees when buying second hand.
Questions to ask:
- Has there been a recall?
- Have there been any repairs on the seat?
- Were repairs done with parts from the manufacturer? Was it repaired by a professional?
- Have any of the parts been swapped?
Check for missing parts
It’s common for second hand seats to something missing, or damage the owner didn’t notice. The most common are missing manuals (although we’ve seen everything from a cockroach infestation to a missing tether straps!).
It may seem like a small thing, but a car seat’s manual will include important information about the car seat’s proper installation, how to correctly place the baby and how to change the seat to fit a growing bub.
How old is the car seat? What condition is it in?
Find the date on your child restraint. A child restraint should not be used if it is over 10 years of age. The date can be found on the seat’s stickers (but sometimes they are missing). It isn’t impossible to find the date when the stickers are missing; it just takes a trained eye to check.
You can take the restraint to a local installer to check its age. A professional installer can also diagnose any wear and tear that may cause the seat to fail in the event of an accident. Excessive mould, damage to the fabric, and loose harnesses are all things that need to be inspected.
What the professionals look for:
- Age – is the capsule or car seat under 10 years?
- Are the straps worn?
- Are the buckles bent or worn?
- Are the attachment points cracked or discoloured?
- Has there been excessive exposure to the sun?
- Are there tears in the fabric?
- Are all the stickers in tact?
- Is there an Australian Standards sticker?
- Is there rust in the buckle?
- Is there presence of mould on any part of the seat or straps?
- Is there a safety clip
- Do the buckles lock in to position?
- Does the harness tighten and release?
If you have purchased a second hand car seat and want to have a professional check your seat, call your local installer or Hire for Baby on 1300 363 755. You can ask them about hiring and purchasing capsules and car seats as well, plus other baby products.