The Good Egg Car Safety Blog

Second hand car seat danger - Case study 3

Can you spot what is wrong with this car seat?


This blog is going to continue our focus on the dangers of buying a second hand car seat without knowing its history with case study 3.

You can read the rest of the series by clicking the following links:

Introduction to second hand seats

Tips for buyers

Case Study 1

Case Study 2

 

for FB OL

 


This car seat was purchased from a well-known auction site for £10 with local collection; to the eye this seat looks in good condition. The advert claims that it has been kept in the garage and never dropped or involved in an accident.

When our expert collected the seat, the seller was a friendly Dad of 6 and they were selling to make room in the garage. The seller told our expert that he was very concerned about child seat safety; he again assured us that the seat had never been involved in a collision and that he would never sell one that had been.

This is a group 0,1,2 car seat that is used rear facing to start with, and turns forward facing later on.

Our expert has studied this seat closely, and we have found the following causes for concern…

 

Under the cover


The foam protection in this seat is severely damaged and cracked, which greatly reduces the protection the seat can offer.



DAMAGED OL

 

BREAK OL

DAMAGED POLY OL

HARNESS OL

 

This seat has not been well cared for, and the damage to the foam raises concerns over the ability of the seat to provide the protection it should be able to give.

 

The harness


The harness on this seat looked to be fine when our expert collected the seat.  However upon inspection of the seat, it became apparent that the harness has been tampered with!



HARNESS 3 OL

 

Have you spotted what is wrong yet?


The hip straps on this seat have been tampered with, the harness is supposed to be a 5 point harness, with the hip straps attached to the seat. This attachment has been removed at some point in the seats life, leaving the harness only able to restrain the child across the shoulders and crotch strap. This is severe damage to the harness and it would be very dangerous in a collision, the force of an impact would only be spread over the child’s shoulders, and the buckle and harness are unlikely to be able to take the additional strain.



BROKEN HARNESS OL

 

There is also no ECE R44 label on this seat, although we know it is a European seat, we are unable to tell to what approval it was tested.

 

The seller


What struck our expert with this seat however, was the seller. When the seat was collected our expert got chatting to him - he’s a Dad of 6, had come back from taking his family on holiday the day before and works in children’s entertainment and with disabled children. He is an extremely caring individual who actively works to improve children’s lives, yet he sold a child seat that is not only very old, but very dangerous.

A seller of a seat may not be aware the seat they are selling is dangerous and believe that it is safe and a bargain for someone – if the buyer also doesn’t spot these damages, the only time they will find out their seat is dangerous is in a collision.

If you have to buy second hand, only buy from someone who you trust, and that you 100% know the history of the seat, a dangerous car seat may cost them their life.

 

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Second hand car seats – Is this car seat safe?

 

Welcome to Good Egg Safety’s blog series on second hand car seats. We are running a number of blog’s to evaluate if it is safe to buy and use a second hand car seat, and what dangers second hand seats pose to children.

As part of the blog series, our expert has purchased car seats from an online auction site to assess through case studies. We have already released the first case study, which you can read here.

 

Is this seat safe?


SEAT BASE OL

 

To the eye, this seat is in good condition. It also comes with a base and the newborn insert  – this seat and base cost £20 which is far less than the cost of buying new.

However, when our expert inspected this seat, it became apparent that it isn’t as good as it appears to be. We have found problems with the polystyrene protection in the seat, the harness and crotch strap. We also have concerns about the base.

 

 The harness...


Harness OL



The harness looks in good condition at first glance, but on closer inspection, it is severely damaged.


altered straps OL

 

The harness has folded and twisted in the past, beyond being able to use it – the harness has had material stitched to it to straighten it out. This hugely reduces the integrity of the harness, causing serious concern over it’s ability to restrain a child in a collision.

 

 The crotch strap...


damaged strap OL

 

The crotch strap has been tampered with, to the point that it is extremely dangerous. It has torn in the past, and been stitched – this crotch strap would not be able to safely take the force of a collision and restrain a child.

 

 The polystyrene protection...


damaged polystyrene OL

 

When we removed the cover of this seat, we found the polystyrene head support damaged. This seat would be unable to spread the force of a collision as well as a new seat would, and the damage here could also cause head injuries to a child, despite being in the very safest rear facing position.

 

 The base...


The plastic base contains many stress fractures. This base may have been previously involved in a collision, dropped or not very well cared for. The plastic of the base is unlikely to be as strong as needed to adequately protect a child and hold the seat in place in a collision.

 

 Is this seat safe?

 

No.  We would go as far as to term this seat a “death trap”.  It is extremely unlikely to protect a child in a collision and should never have been sold on second hand to the last user of this seat.  The person who last used this seat had no idea it was as dangerous as it is.


Our expert is going to keep this seat and use it in training and demonstrations to highlight the dangers of buying a seat without knowing the history.

 

Have you ever used a second hand car seat, then found problems with it?  We want to hear your experiences!

 


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Second hand child seats - Tips for buying

Welcome to the next installment in our second hand child seat series!  This post is looking at how we can use second hand seats as safely as possible.


Whenever possible, your child's car seat should be purchased as a new product, from a retail store who are able to give you good advice.

In purchasing from a retailer and taking advice, you can be sure the seat you buy is suitable for your child, compatible with your car and you will be shown how to fit the seat.  You will also know that your seat is brand new, and can be confident that the seat will do its job should you be involved in a collision.

Sometimes though, financial hardship can leave no choice but to buy a second hand seat, or a family member or close friend offers you a seat that you know is in perfect condition.  In this situation, what can you do to ensure the seat is used safely?

Our Good Egg Expert has put together 10 things to do before you decide to take a second hand seat!



Tip1



Only buy from family or close friends

Is the seat from someone you would trust with your child's life, such as a close friend or family member? Don't be tempted to buy a seat from a friend or family member to spare their feelings!

Only buy a seat you 100% know the history of - if you have any doubts about a seat, don't use it!



Tip2



How much is the second hand seat?

Can you buy a brand new seat for the price of a second hand seat?  There are many options available, and a benefit of buying new is being able to get advice and seat fitment - check out our blog on top seats for under £100!



Tip3



Find out the make and model of the seat.


What seat is it that you're buying?  Is it a well known brand?  Be aware that there are fake seats out there!



Tip4



Check the ECE approval label:

Does the seat carry an approval label?  A seat must carry a label for R44.03, R44.04 or R129 iSize.



Graco 44.03 OLECE LabelOL
 

Tip5



Check that the seat is suitable for your child

Does the seat accommodate your child's weight and height?  If the seat is forward facing, don't move up until the rear facing seat is fully outgrown!  Our chart will help you find out if the seat is the correct group:



Pic5

 

Tip6



Check the seat will fit your car

Some child seat manufacturers have fitting lists or online fit finders to help you find out what is compatible with your car.  Research what will fit your car - does your car have issues with buckle crunch?  Floor storage boxes or forward anchor point?



Tip7



Research the seat

    • Is the seat still currently available?

 

    • Has there been any recalls on the seat?

 

    • If it isn't available in shops now, why not?

 

    • Is it an old seat that is no longer manufactured?



If the seat is currently available, visit a store to see it close up as a new product - what does it look like new and what items comes with the seat.  Ensure the second hand seat has all parts present and instructions!



Tip8



Inspect the seat

Once you know what the seat looks like new, inspect the second hand seat - is the seat shell plastic, foam protection under the covers and harness in good condition, with no marks, rips, dents or tears?  If the seat shell, foam or harness is damaged in any way - don't use the seat!



Tip9



Are safer seats available?

Check out what your options would be buying new, is a safer seat available, or a seat that is more compatible with your vehicle or easier to fit?



Tip10



Get the fitment checked!

If you decide to take the second hand seat, get the fitment checked at a Good Egg Clinic or with your local road safety team (if they do car seat checking).  We won't be able to confirm your seat is safe without knowing the history, but we can confirm if the seat is fitted and used correctly!


 

 

GE

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