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.







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!



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.


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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Guest — Amanda Cline
I did't know that.
Sunday, 07 December 2014 03:16
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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?



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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Recent Comments
Guest — ERFmama
I would say that it looks like the seat and base has actually been in a collision. ... Read More
Friday, 28 November 2014 17:53
Guest — Lucinda Hornsby
I once went to a bulk sale, where carseats, amongst other things, were purchased from a reputable store in bulk and resold at a fr... Read More
Tuesday, 13 October 2015 20:29
Guest — Good Egg Safety
Hi Lucinda, Thanks for your comment! That is a big concern, where did that take place? Unless you know what to look for, you jus... Read More
Wednesday, 25 November 2015 17:13
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