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What precautions should I take to use a second-hand child seat?

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09/12/2015

Although it is not recommended, you can use a second-hand child seat provided that we make sure beforehand that it has retained all its features intact so that it correctly performs its function in the event of an accident.

Clearly, if we reuse a seat for a second child that we had purchased previously, we know its exact history and whether there have been any problems with it. However, if the car seat has been lent by a friend or purchased second hand, we must be sure of its condition.

The simplest way to do this is to follow checkpoints or recommendations.

  1. The seat should never have been involved in a moderate or severe accident.
  2. The seat should still have its labels showing both the model's serial number and the date of manufacture. It is very important to have both pieces of data because the date information details when it was made and, therefore, if it is near the end of its useful life as it is about to expire. The serial number can allow us to know if there have been any recalls by the manufacturer for defects found in the car seat.
  3. The seat has not been withdrawn from the market due to a problem: it is possible that a child seat has been withdrawn from the market after finding manufacturing defects affecting safety. If you have the serial number, you can ask the manufacturer to confirm whether there are any problems.
  4. The seat has all its parts: the seat must be complete, including those items that can be removed to adapt the seat for a growing child.
  5. It must not have any other impairments: no worn harnesses or rusty buckles or flaps. A damaged buckle or flap could cause it to open during an accident. If any part is missing, this can be provided by the manufacturer if necessary but sometimes acquiring the missing part can be as expensive as buying a new seat.
  6. The seat should come along with the instructions: very important to be able to follow all the manufacturer's recommendations in terms of looking after, using and fitting the seat. Normally and if necessary, the manufacturer may provide us with a copy of them
  7. It is also recommended that the child seat is no more than six years old, since the materials that seats are made of can "age" and become fragile or brittle.
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