You've probably seen second hand car seats on the side of the road before. Often with a sign stating 'FREE' or 'PLEASE TAKE ME'. And while the people who have put them out mean well, there are real dangers associated with using these seats.
They're normally pretty old.
While Australia has had a mandatory child restraint standard in place for over 30 years, the rate at which research, technology, materials and manufacturing techniques changes is extremely quick. Compare a modern child restraint now to one built in the 1990's - there's a stark difference.
Even today's most basic budget friendly seats, like our Folding Booster, can provide a higher level of protection than older, pre-owned seats.
You don't know its history.
It's impossible to know if the car seat has been in an accident and if the seat's structural integrity has been compromised. Damage to car seats after an accident is can be invisible - fractures in the shell, or nicks in webbing. There is no real way to check for this kind of damage, nor are there any organisations who can 'clear' a seat of suspected damage.
Car seat safety is about minimising risk.
Car seat safety is an additive process. Everything you do right helps add up to a good outcome in the event of an accident.
- Using a Modern Car Seat
- Ensuring Correct Installation
- Ensuring Correct Fitment
All of these things (and many more) increase the level of safety for your child. By using a roadside second hand car seat, you are effectively reducing that level of protection - perhaps only slightly in some cases - but a reduction none the less.
Roadside second hand car seats are most definitely not recommended. There are many low price, budget friendly car seats available in Australia, financial services like AfterPay and Lay-By, and support & charity groups for families in financial trouble all around Australia - so cost, while always a issue for growing families, is becoming more manageable.
Next week, we'll talk about how to safely dispose of your car seats and booster seats to prevent them from being re-used once they're past their useful period.
If you have any feedback or questions, we'd love to hear them in the comments!