Car seat safety

Posted on August 30th, 2012 by James Luckhurst

Car seat safetyWould you buy a second-hand child car seat without knowing its history? New research  from Sainsbury’s Car Insurance reveals that more than half a million drivers (2% of those who drive with children in the car) have bought a second-hand car seat in the last 12 months. GEM joins them in urging parents not to buy second-hand child car seats, simply because it is impossible to know if they are safe or whether they have been damaged in an accident.

Analysis of the online auction site, EBay, confirmed that trading in second-hand car seats is on the rise, with more than 450 “used” child car seats for sale on the website compared with 131 when similar research was conducted in 2009.

The research also showed that more than one hundred thousand motorists have continued to use a child car seat after an accident.

If a child car seat has already been involved in an accident, it’s extremely difficult to know if it is still functioning properly and that it isn’t harbouring any hidden faults.  Therefore, if you can’t be sure of its history, you could be strapping your child into a seat that potentially provides reduced protection.

When many families’ incomes are squeezed it is no surprise that parents will be trying to save money where they can. But the best advice is that, if you must use a        second-hand car seat, then purchase or acquire a seat from somebody you know, a friend or family member who will be able to reassure you as to the seat’s history. Purchasing a seat from an online auction site or a car boot sale is not recommended.

The research also suggests that, over the last year, nearly half a million drivers (2% of those who drive children in their car) have travelled with a child in an incorrectly fitting car seat. Any motorists unsure as to the suitability of the seat they are using should seek professional guidance from the retailer they purchased it from and follow the Government’s advice.

Anyone who has a car seat that has been involved in an accident should, for the avoidance of doubt, replace it with a brand new one.