Safe Journey and the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office issued the following information about buying new car seats:
If you are a parent or caregiver of young children and considering buying a secondhand car seat, we hope to encourage you to choose new for your car seat and booster seat needs.
When buying a used car seat, you have the word of a stranger that the seat they are selling you will protect your child. You have no guarantee that the car seat has been used and stored properly.
There are many reasons that Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians don’t recommend buying used car seats. Do you know, without a doubt:
1. How the car seat has been treated or handled?
Car seats and booster seats should not be stored in attics or basements due to extreme temperatures which can cause damage to the plastic shell of the car seat.
A car seat, dropped from more than three feet, may be as damaged as if it were in a crash.
2. Has the car seat been involved in a crash?
Structural integrity of the car seat can be compromised by even the most minor of accidents, and these signs of compromise aren’t always visible to the naked eye. The car seat may not effectively protect the child in the next accident.
3. If the car seat meets current standards?
Outdated car seats may not meet current safety standards.
4. If there are missing parts?
Kids are hard on the items that are used daily. Even one missing or damaged component can render the car seat unsafe to use. You may not be aware of the problem until the car seat doesn’t perform as intended in the event of a crash.
5. If the car seat has expired?
Yes, car seats do expire. Car seats are made of plastic and can become very brittle as they age, due to exposure to extreme temperatures in a vehicle. In the event of an accident, an expired car seat may shatter or break.
Buying a used car seat or booster seat may seem like a bargain, but it just isn’t worth the risk.
Safe Journey is a program funded through the Tennessee Highway Safety Office.