Your children are your most precious gifts. Few parents take risks with their children’s safety. The age for use of car seats in the U.S. is from infant to age 12 or when a child reaches 4 ft. 9 inches in height. Car seats shouldn’t become hand-me-downs for the safety of the child.
Why Car Seats Shouldn’t Become Hand-Me-Downs
Considering that car seats get much longer use by the first child using one, this means there is a certain amount of wear that is not always readily apparent. Purchasing second hand car seats online or from an offline second hand source such as garage sales, second-hand shops and online from buy and sell trade groups.
There are several issues to consider when purchasing hand-me-down car seats. These include:
- Sanitary condition
- Car seat may not operate properly
- Date of manufacture shows the car seat has expired
- The car seat is on a recall list
- The harness has not been cleaned with non-allergenic cleaners
- Metal parts may be rusted
The car seat may be damaged due to an auto accident
Hand-me-down car seats should be sold with the original manufacturer’s manual, labels and if parts have been replaced, the information on replacement parts should also be provided.
Ideally, a hand-me-down car seat should be properly maintained and cleaned. It is not always possible to know types of cleaners used or how often the car seat has been maintained.
Car Seat May Not Operate Properly
The function of car seats is to protect your child. When these are hand-me-downs, it may not always be easy to know in advance if the car seat operates properly. For example, the seat may be worn or the harness no longer functions.
Date of Manufacture Shows the Car Seat Has Expired
The car seat manufacturer provides an expiration date on the label. The expiration date is six years from date of manufacture, not date of purchase.
The Car Seat is on a Recall List
If you purchase a car seat online or offline at a garage sale, you need to know if the car seat is on a recall list. You can find the recall list at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) site.
The Harness Has Not Been Cleaned with Non-allergenic Cleaners
Children are at risk with hand-me-down car seats if the harness has not been cleaned with non-allergenic cleaners. This can cause a skin rash or lung ailments.
Metal Parts May Be Rusted
Often, when car seats are unused for long periods of time and have not been properly stored, metal parts begin to rust or corrode weakening their effectiveness.
The Car Seat May Be Damaged Due to an Auto Accident
While the appearance of the car seat seems acceptable, if it has been involved in an auto accident prior to sale, parts may be misaligned according to original manufactured design. When you go to a car dealer to get a new car you should get a new car seat. The specialists will be able to make sure that you get a replacement that needs the size of your growing family and fits the car seats that you need.
The frequency of use affects how well hand-me down car seats provide safety for the next child who uses it. Take maximum precaution before buying.