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 case study 1 - Mamas and Papas Traveller G-Matic

Welcome to case study 1!

Throughout November we are focusing on the dangers second hand seats pose to children and their families.

We are running four case studies on seats that our expert has bought from eBay – this installment is going to look at the first seat our expert found, it is a Mama's and Papa's Traveller G-Matic.

The seller on eBay stated:

"The seat has never been involved in an accident, is in good condition and suitable from 0-6 months.

What are the problems with this seat?

First of all, this seat is old, which we can see from the design of the covers and the frame of the seat. A seat this old will not offer the protection current seats can, and it is unlikely to pass higher impact testing or side impact testing.

This seat is a group 0 rear facing infant seat, these are rarely made in rear facing mode now. This means a child could only rear face to 10kg in this seat, where most modern seats allow rear facing to 13kg – up to about 12/15 months old.

Is it legal?

The seat has an ECE sticker on the rear, which shows it to be an R44.03 approved seat. This means that the seat can still legally be used, despite it's age. However, R44.03 was released in 1995 – so this seat could be anywhere up to 19 years old!

Is it easy to fit?

The fitment of the seat is what we are used to seeing on infant seats nowadays, with the lap belt over the baby's lap and the chest belt around the back of the seat. The handle also has to be back on this seat, rather than upright. On most modern infant seats, the handle is upright or forward to allow it to act as a roll cage in a collision.

This seat has no newborn inserts or head huggers, and the side impact protection is lacking. Under R44.03 and R44.04 crash testing, side impact protection is not currently a legal requirement, however many modern R44.04 infant seats will provide side impact protection.

This harness must be adjusted individually from the back of the seat. This means that the harness is even less likely to be used correctly, as it is very difficult and fiddly to alter the straps as your child grows/to suit their clothing. Also note that there is only one harness position.

The primary concern with this seat – and it should be with any seat you do not know the history of – is that it is second hand. A stranger is telling us that this is going to protect our child's life – is the word of a stranger good enough?

Our expert paid £5.99 for this seat, plus postage – worth the bargain?

No. This seat is now too old to be sure of it's safety and effectiveness, even if it wasn't second hand. We have no idea of the history of the seat and the way in which the seat is fitted and used means it most likely won't be adjusted correctly.

The seat did not fit safely in our expert's vehicle either – can you spot what is wrong with the fitment of this seat in this vehicle?

So, is this seat safe?

No.

This seat is not a safe or suitable child restraint to use. It is unlikely to be able to pass crash testing, it has a small seat shell meaning it won't last very long and the seat provides no side impact protection.

Second hand car seats pose a huge threat to children's safety – don't let a child you know be put in danger! – raise awareness!

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Second hand car seats case study 1 - Mama's and Papa's Traveller G-Matic

Welcome to case study 1!


Throughout November we are focusing on the dangers second hand seats pose to children and their families.

We are running four case studies on seats that our expert has bought from an auction wesbite - this installment is going to look at the first seat our expert found, it is a Mama’s and Papa’s Traveller G-Matic.

 

The seller online stated:


"The seat has never been involved in an accident, is in good condition and suitable from 0-6 months."

 

close up OL

 

What are the problems with this seat?



First of all, this seat is old, which we can see from the design of the covers and the frame of the seat.  A seat this old will not offer the protection current seats can, and it is unlikely to pass higher impact testing or side impact testing.

This seat is a group 0 rear facing infant seat, these are rarely made in rear facing mode now.  This means a child could only rear face to 10kg in this seat, where most modern seats allow rear facing to 13kg – up to about 12/15 months old.

 

Is it legal?


The seat has an ECE sticker on the rear, which shows it to be an R44.03 approved seat. This means that the seat can still legally be used, despite it’s age.



ECE R44.03 OL

 

However, R44.03 was released in 1995 - so this seat could be anywhere up to 19 years old!

 

Is it easy to fit?


The fitment of the seat is what we are used to seeing on infant seats nowadays, with the lap belt over the baby’s lap and the chest belt around the back of the seat.



Fitted OL

 

The handle also has to be back on this seat, rather than upright. On most modern infant seats, the handle is upright or forward to allow it to act as a roll cage in a collision.

This seat has no newborn inserts or head huggers, and the side impact protection is lacking. Under R44.03 and R44.04 crash testing, side impact protection is not currently a legal requirement,  however many modern R44.04 infant seats will provide side impact protection.

Under R129 iSize side impact protection is a legal requirement which is crash tested.

The harness on this seat is also different to what we see on modern seats.



Harness old OL

 

This harness must be adjusted individually from the back of the seat. This means that the harness is even less likely to be used correctly, as it is very difficult and fiddly to alter the straps as your child grows/to suit their clothing. Also note that there is only one harness position.

The primary concern with this seat – and it should be with any seat you do not know the history of – is that it is second hand. A stranger is telling us that this is going to protect our child’s life – is the word of a stranger good enough?

 

Our expert paid £5.99 for this seat, plus postage – worth the bargain?


No. This seat is now too old to be sure of it’s safety and effectiveness, even if it wasn’t second hand. We have no idea of the history of the seat and the way in which the seat is fitted and used means it most likely won’t be adjusted correctly.

The seat did not fit safely in our expert’s vehicle either – can you spot what is wrong with the fitment of this seat in this vehicle?

 


Mamas and Papa's in car 002

 

So, is this seat safe?

 

No.


This seat is not a safe or suitable child restraint to use.  It is unlikely to be able to pass crash testing,  it has a small seat shell meaning it won't last very long and the seat provides no side impact protection.

Second hand car seats pose a huge threat to children's safety - don't let a child you know be put in danger! Raise awareness!


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