Shopping for a car seat can be a confusing and pricey experience. The average cost of a car seat is increasing every year as manufacturers are forced to deal with stricter safety standards.
Higher prices are only part of the problem, there are many new car seat models coming out every year. Each one with a host of new features.
Given all of that, it’s no surprise that many parents have considered buying a used car seat. The question we hope to answer is whether or not it’s a good idea. Should you let your kid ride in a used car seat? How safe is it?
No parent should ever buy a used infant car seat. Infants are fragile and should only be placed in the most up to date infant car seat, that you know for sure was not in an accident. For toddlers’ car seats, it is safe to buy a 2-year-old model that has not been in an accident.
The NHTSA recommends replacing a car seat after a crash to ensure its high level of crash protection has not been compromised. We recommended only buy a 2-year-old car seat, in order to keep things simpler. However, if you must buy an even older car seat, let’s look at how to spot a safe choice.
The Pros of Buying a Used Car Seat
If you are thinking about buying a second-hand car seat, then one major advantage you’ll experience is the price. However, the cost can fluctuate profoundly since the value of the car seat will be set by the person selling the car seat. Still, when you purchase a used car seat, you’ll save a large amount of money compared to how much a new car seat costs.
Furthermore, by purchasing a used car seat, you’ll be contributing to helping the environment. There are sustainability benefits when it comes to buying a used car seat because you’re saving something that’s still useful from being discarded in a landfill.
The Cons of Buying a Used Car Seat
Unfortunately, there are several disadvantages when it comes to purchasing a used car seat. Many of those disadvantages can pose serious consequences. Buying a used car seat puts you at a significant disadvantage as far as safety is concerned. There are several reasons why the security of a used car seat might be compromised, including:
You won’t know whether or not the car seat has ever been in an accident. Remember, if a car seat has been in an accident, you should replace it. With a used car seat, you won’t know the seat’s background. That means you might wind up with a car seat that isn’t safe to be using, even if you inspect it, and the car seat appears to be in great shape.
It’s usually recommended to dispose of your car seat a decade from the date you originally purchased it. Much of this has to do with the fact that the foam and plastics that make up the car seat can degrade as time passes because the car seat is exposed to heat and UV rays while being inside the car. If you decide to purchase a used car seat, you should ask about its original date of purchase, and have the seller provide proof.
You also need to ask to look over the car seat’s label. On that label, you’ll find details on the seat’s compliance with the law.
You also need to ask the seller for the car seat’s original manual to make sure it’s available. Also, ensure that the accessories, like infant inserts, are also included.
Another disadvantage of purchasing a used car seat is uncertainty. You really won’t know how well the car seat was taken care of by its past owner. The car seat could have been cared for well and only used as a spare seat. On the other hand, it may have also been left outside and exposed to the sun’s UV heat for months.
The Pros of Buying a New Car Seat
When you select a new car seat for your child, you get a significant advantage because you know what you are buying. You’re aware that your car seat is brand new and right out of the box, so your car seat meets the manufacturer’s safety specifications.
When you buy a new car seat, you’ll get the manual and everything else you need to place the seat in your vehicle correctly.
Another advantage of purchasing a new car seat is that you’ll also get a warranty. So, if anything goes awry with your new car seat, you’ll be able to get a new one using the manufacturer’s warranty.
The last advantage to buying a new car seat has to do with technology. Since technology is always changing and evolving, and it’s always used to improve car seats, you’ll have a wide range of options. By purchasing a new car seat, you’ll be able to select from a bevy of options, all of them offering the most modern features.
The Cons of Buying a New Car Seat
While buying a new car seat might sound like a lovely idea, it does have its drawbacks. The one major drawback of purchasing a new car seat is the price. A new car seat will typically be priced much higher than a used car seat. That’s usually the case with any new versus used purchase.
However, when you purchase a new product, you are going to receive a product that’s brand new, and you’ll get many benefits with that. Unfortunately, you’ll have to pay for everything that goes along with that.
Used Vs. New Car Seats
It’s your choice when it comes to purchasing a used or new car seat. However, when you review all of the factors we presented above, the safest option for your child is to buy a new car seat. That’s because you’ll know what you are getting, and you’ll be guaranteed that the car seat is safe for daily use.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), you should purchase a new car seat for your child until he or she is ready to use a regular seat belt. There is no way to tell if the used car seat you found at a garage sale or bought used off Craigslist was recalled or damaged during a crash. If you do need a used car seat because of your budget, then you need to shop wisely.
Never purchase a used car seat that is older than ten years. You should also make sure any used car seat that you buy includes the manufacturer’s label, so that way you can check to see if there are any recalls. Make sure you don’t buy a used car seat that has any cracks or is missing any parts.
By purchasing a new car seat, you’ll know that your car seat underwent a quality control process, so it will keep your child safe. You will also get some peace of mind with a manufacturer’s warranty, just in case, anything goes wrong with your car seat.
Also, buying a new car seat keeps you from worrying about the car seat’s history or how well-kept the car seat is. Your new car seat will meet all of the current standards, and you know you can safely use it. Since most parents want the peace of mind to know that their child is safe while they drive, purchasing a new car seat would be the best choice.