When you buy a Child Restraint System, you know that it will be useful for a limited period of time since as your children grow you have a adjust the CRS to their needs: the increase in weight, stature and, of course, you have to take the physical condition and limitations of the children into account. What can you do with this child car seat that you don't use anymore?
Even knowing that the CRS has a limited useful lifetime, it's unusual for people to think what to do with the device when it's no longer useful. We should point out that we're talking about child car seats that have not suffered a collision, because in that case all you can do is get rid of it. This is because the restraint system may have suffered internal structural damage which is invisible at first sight and which could well not guarantee a child's safety.
You have to take into account that the average life span of this type of device is about 6 years, given that the passage of time and daily use by the children, - or the effects of weather conditions (sun and intense heat in the summer, cold and damp in the winter, etc.) - cause wear and tear on the materials.
Plastic may expand and contract, thereby losing its original shape; the straps will have suffered a lot from use (in fact this is the part that suffers most wear and tear) and cleaning products may have damaged them... Whatever the case, child car seats deteriorate with the passage of time and you should also take into account how they been treated in general.
OFFERING YOUR CHILD CAR SEAT TO A FRIEND OR RELATIVE IS A GREAT RESPONSIBILITY
From what has been said so far, you can see that offering your child car seat to a friend or relative is a great responsibility, whether you sell or give it away. Not in vain this CRS that you no longer use is considered to be second-hand, and even though you yourself have been the main user and ought to know its history, the fact is that your memory will never be quite accurate.
You tend to think that your child car seat is still new, without taking its daily use into account, "mistreatment" with the remains of food, drinks and sweets; being cleaned with products that are sometimes abrasive and the daily use of the straps, fastening and unfastening them constantly; you realize that you probably haven't taken proper care of the different elements for anchoring the seat... You may well not be able to find the installation instructions, or for some reason you may have lost the approval sticker for the CRS.
For all these reasons, selling it or giving it away to a friend or relative is a great responsibility, and you should only do it if you are absolutely sure that it is in very good condition. You have to be honest about this because you are offering a second-hand safety product, and you have to understand that it may not be in its original condition whatever it looks like.
In the article on "The dangers of reusing a child car seat" we go into more detail on these concepts, and to understand what you should do when offering the seat to a third-party it is interesting to read the article on "What precautions should I take when using a second-hand child car seat?", since you are basically doing just that, offering a second-hand car seat.
KEEP IT FOR A FUTURE BABY
This is more usual in the case of families, which are planning to have more than one baby. In general, terms this is the same case as for the previous point, but you should also take into account the "age" limit for the CRS, which is 6 years. If a child stops using a CRS at the age of 4, for example, and he or she used it for two years, the next one to use it can only take at most four years to be old enough and the right size for sitting in the seat.
It will depend on the age difference between them to determine whether or not it is feasible to use a second-hand CRS, even in the same family. You should not forget the issue of approval for the appliance, since during the interval between two children using it there may have been a change in the legislation in this regard.
TAKE IT TO A WASTE COLLECTION POINT
If you don't know what to do, or you're not sure if the CRS is in good condition, you can always take it to the waste collection point in your town and hand it over there. We recommend you not to simply leave it in the street for two reasons: firstly because this is not civic minded; secondly because someone may well use it and that would be potentially dangerous, since once abandoned in the street you lose control of what may happen to it and any damage may well be multiplied.