Car Seat Safety: Buying or Borrowing Used Seats

After blogging about the many car, truck, van, bus, and motorcycle accidents that occur each day on roadways throughout this country, it only seems natural that I occasionally mention the safety precautions that can be taken in case you are involved in one of these devastating events.  Those travelling with children are more likely to be distracted on the roadway, simply because kids often require attention.  However, you can drive responsibly and ensure that you are doing everything in your power to protect your most cherished passengers, so even the most unexpected obstacle is far less likely to cause disaster.

There has been a lot of talk about child safety seats in recent years, as more has been learned about their ability to protect the lives of infants, toddlers, and young children.  One of the most commonly asked questions about these devices is in regards to the safety of borrowing or buying used seats.  After all, especially in the case of infant carriers, they are used for such a short period of time and can cost quite a substantial amount of money.  However, many experts will warn that borrowing or buying used seats could mean risking your child’s life.  In all fairness, there are certainly exceptions to this rule, so here is one big tip for those who are considering doing so.

Ask!  If you don’t feel comfortable asking a myriad of questions about the seat before borrowing it or buying it, then you aren’t doing the right thing.  You should know the person who is lending or selling very well; well enough to know for sure that the seat has never been involved in a car accident, about how old it is, and how many children it has been used for previously.  In other words, the only people that you should buy or borrow from are trusted friends and close family members.  There is the danger that after years of wear and tear on a seat, it could lose its effectiveness due to worn-out components.  Furthermore, car seats that have been involved in an accident could have been compromised, yet the weaknesses may not be visible to the untrained eye.  For that reason, officials always recommend discarding a seat after an accident.  Insurance companies are also avid about this.

As a final word of caution, be sure that the seat you buy or borrow fits your child.  Seats are always labeled with directions for use and the guideline for age and weight.  If your child falls outside those guidelines, then the seat should not be used. Be sure the seat is properly secured in the backseat before setting out on any journey.


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