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.
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 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 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.
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 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.
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.
I once went to a bulk sale, where carseats, amongst other things, were purchased from a reputable store in bulk and resold at a fraction of the price. People were buying happily as of course it was from a good store, but I found out that it was transported to resale site on the back of a truck, piled on top of each other. After inspecting several seats I found cracks in hard to find places that the average buyer wouldn't check. I am horrified at the amount of kids out there potentially in danger
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That is a big concern, where did that take place? Unless you know what to look for, you just wouldn't spot problems like this. In our car seat training, we show a seat which is severely damaged, and it is rare that people spot the issues!
The Good Egg Team