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
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.
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 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!
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.
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.
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.