However, one item that you should always buy new is the car seat. There are a number of reasons to be wary of second hand car seats, and you can never be too careful when it comes to your child’s safety.
Which? carried out a survey recently that showed 9% of parents with children under 12 had bought a second hand car seat. This is despite warnings of the dangers of doing so appearing regularly in the press.
If you are struggling to afford a new car seat, it might be worth talking to your local council to see if they run any grant schemes for these items. Any help you can get that would mean your baby has a new car seat rather than a second hand model is worth seeking out. Here are the reasons you should be wary of second hand car seats.
When you buy second hand car seats, you simply do not know the history of the item. Even if the seller tells you it has not been in an accident, can you be sure they are telling the truth? Are they simply telling you what you want to hear in order to make the sale and declutter their home?
Of course, you can inspect the car seat before you buy it, but not all damage is visible. There could be underlying issues with the second hand car seat that mean it is not as protective as it should be in the event of an accident.
Car seats are designed to protect your baby’s head, neck and body, thanks to the clever design techniques, materials and manufacture. If any of these features is damaged or compromised in some way, it could prove disastrous in the event of an accident.
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When you buy a second hand car seat, you might not always receive the instruction book with the seat. Reading the manual for a safety item such as this is absolutely essential if you want to be sure that it will perform as it is meant to in the event of an accident.
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You are much better off having the original manual that came with the seat than you are searching for it online too. When you find one online, you can never be sure that it is the instruction book for that exact model. It could be for an earlier or later version of the car seat, giving you advice about the features that isn’t relevant for the model you bought.
Out of Date Safety Features
Another issue with second hand car seats is that they may not comply with the latest safety regulations. Any car seat on sale brand new in the UK must meet a series of stringent requirements before it is allowed on the shelves. These regulations tighten over time, meaning that the model of car seat that you buy second hand might not be as safe as it should be.
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Wear and Tear
You might want to take into consideration the wear and tear on the car seat too. Looked after properly, a new car seat can last years, taking your child from the minimum to the maximum age or weight levels for that seat. When you buy second hand, you don’t know that it will last for the length of time that you will need it. The upholstery could start to break due to age and usage, with other features wearing out too over time.
Advice If You Really Must Buy a Second Hand Car Seat
If you really insist on buying a second hand car seat, you should only consider buying from someone you can trust to tell you the truth about its history. A friend or a family member would not let you buy a car seat that had been in an accident.
Also, only ever accept a second hand car seat if it comes with the original instruction book and if it meets the current safety regulations. It is also worth checking with a respected consumer reviews organisation, such as Which?, to check whether the seat you are buying is fit for purpose. You can look back through old reviews if the model has been discontinued in the shops.
However, you are much better advised to buy new when it comes to car seats because you really do not want to gamble with safety.