Auto Safety: Is it Okay to Buy or Borrow a Used Car Seat?

Auto Safety: Is it Okay to Buy or Borrow a Used Car Seat?

All too frequently, the headlines make mention of a truly tragic car accident. While all loss of life is heartbreaking, the truly devastating stories are those that involve a child’s life cut short.

For that reason, many years have been dedicated to perfecting the child restraint devices on the market. The better they are, the more properly they are used and the fewer families that will be left to grieve.

There are many people who complain and gripe about the strict standards related to child safety devices in the car. In many states today, kids must ride in a booster or restraint seat until they are eight years old. That might seem excessive, but the truth is that parents traveling with young children are the most likely to be distracted on the road and standard seat belts were not designed for children; they are made to fit the average adult. That makes a child too small and short for the belts to fit properly, which is why special seating is necessary.

While these seats are built tough, they do present two challenges. The first is the price. Many parents today will struggle to afford the seating. For that reason, many have considered buying used car seats or borrowing from a friend.

However, this is where the second challenge comes into play. The Department of Motor Vehicles strongly advises that people do not purchase used car seats and further suggests that borrowing be limited to close family and friends, who are known not to have been involved in a car accident with that car seat in the vehicle.

If you do decide to buy a pre-owned car seat or to borrow one from a friend, be sure that you ask the right questions. Know how old it is, how many kids have ridden in it and for how many years. Ask about any known issues with the seat, if all the original components are still in place, and, most importantly, ask if it was ever in a vehicle during a crash.

Those that have been involved in a car accident are no longer considered safe, as there could have been internal damage done to the seat that is not visible to the naked eye. This could leave your child at risk.