The thought of a used car seat can be appealing to some. The economy is horrible, gas prices are sky rocketing, and some car seats can be pretty pricey. Buying a used car seat seems like a less expensive way to get an absolute necessity for your child.
You should not do it.
But why not?
When you buy a used car seat, you are putting your child at risk. You do not know the history of that seat. Many people are not educated in car seat safety and may think nothing of a seat that has been in an accident or damaged in some other way. Even if the person tells you "this car seat is in perfect condition" there is no absolute guarantee. Someone selling a car seat is looking to get money for an item.
Why you shouldn't get a car seat from Craigslist or Freecycle:
A free car seat!? Score!
Wrong. Very wrong. Today I picked up a car seat from a woman who had advertised it on Freecycle. She said "I have a blue car seat that I don't need anymore. Free to whomever wants it." Upon emailing her, I found out that she got this seat from Freecycle. This specific seat has changed hands at least twice. Who knows what information has been left out.
This is the car seat I picked up today:
Looks ok, right?
Ok, first off, ew.
Moving on, did you notice this?
The areas on here that are light blue are where the plastic of the base has been stressed and is now compromised. Who knows how that could perform in an accident?
Oh, look. There's more. A lot more.
Well, that's just on the base. So what? We'll use it with out the base.
Nope. After lifting the cover for the seat, it becomes clear that this car seat is not suitable for use.
Little light blue patches. A bunch of them.
And surprise! This car seat is expired.
Do you think this car seat came with an owners manual? Absolutely not. Good thing this is easily replaced. At least that isn't too bad.
However, this would be really good to know beforehand.
Ok, this is all about one seat. I'm sure there are ok used seats out there for free or for a low price.
I'm sure this is true. Are you willing to risk your child's safety on that? If you know the person you are getting the seat from and you can 100% absolutely, with no uncertainty, guarantee that the seat is in good condition, safe for use, by all means go for it. Tons of people have seats that were passed down from family members or close friends.
If I do that, what do I need to check for?
1) Has this seat ever been in an accident?
2) Has this seat been dropped from a high height?
3) Is everything on this seat in good working order?
4) Is this seat expired?
5) Are all of the parts on this seat present and from the manufacturer?
Ok, what if I think it isn't safe but I can't afford another seat?
Well, first off, many people don't know how inexpensive car seats can be.
This is a Cosco Scenera. It is available at Walmart for $39.
I can't afford $40 for a car seat.
This may not be your first choice but you could try to borrow money from family, friends, maybe use a credit card? If you dig far enough, you can probably find something. Also, try registering for one for your baby shower!
No luck with family or friends?
This link tells you 5 different ways you can try to get a free car seat. Many programs are income based and require a bit of time so apply early! If none of these options are working for you, try googling your town and "car seat voucher." Chances are, you'll be able to find something out there.
Hopefully you've made it this far and hopefully this answered a few questions for you. If you have any questions about this post, please feel free to ask! :)
Oh, and just for fun, this is a seat I bought for $7 off of Craigslist this past winter (advertised in "great" condition).
thank you!! i've been telling my sister how a used carseat is a terrible idea, but now i can show her this. thank you again!!
Crazy that people still buy them used. One would think that it is just common sense to buy a new one.......
Thanks ladies! :)
I'm glad people like it, I thought people were going to say " :roll: who cares, car seat nazi!" lol
You may contact your local Department of Human Services or Fire Department
A local fire department recently gave out new car seats and made sure they were properly installed..
so maybe yours has something like that.
I hope you get a good reliable seat.
Quoting Raegan's Momma + 1:" You may contact your local Department of Human Services or Fire Department A local fire department recently ... [snip!] ... and made sure they were properly installed.. so maybe yours has something like that. I hope you get a good reliable seat."
Oh, I'm not actually looking for a seat :oops: I'm just really obsessed with car seat safety and try to get unsafe seats before people that don't know the difference do :oops::oops:
I wish I could share this on facebook!
Great info, thank you for compiling it into one post. Under the can't afford a $40 seat section you can also mention borrowing $40 from friends, family, coworkers or using a credit card. They may not be anyone's first choice but I'd use them as an option over an expired or dangerous seat any day
Quoting Kyrie ♥'s Monkeys:" Great info, thank you for compiling it into one post. Under the can't afford a $40 seat section you can ... [snip!] ... a credit card. They may not be anyone's first choice but I'd use them as an option over an expired or dangerous seat any day"
That's a great point! I'll go add it now.
Quoting ♥His Mimi♥:" Oh, I'm not actually looking for a seat :oops: I'm just really obsessed with car seat safety and try to get unsafe seats before people that don't know the difference do :oops::oops:"
oh its okay. As long as someone sees my post..and finds out if that is available to them through those resources.. then thats fine with me. I think car seat safety is REALLY important. I was in a car accident when I was 14, and my niece was 5 and my nephew 3. Neither were restrained.. my niece died, and my nephew only survived because I had a death grip around his body..and I took the impact.
I'm all for car safety and spreading the word.. and not giving people an excuse to settle for whatever.
There are programs and such out there to help. Even if you just have to call your church and tell them its important and you can't afford a car seat. My church would help, so I'm sure others would too.
Quoting Raegan's Momma + 1:" oh its okay. As long as someone sees my post..and finds out if that is available to them through those ... [snip!] ... your church and tell them its important and you can't afford a car seat. My church would help, so I'm sure others would too."
Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry! :cry:
It's good that you're taking a personal tragedy and turning it around to help others though.
Ugh. :( :cry: That's so horrible. :(
this is a great post especially for new moms. I already knew all this information myself. But other people certainly don't know the risk of a used Car seat. Like you never know I'm very careful with my children's seats. Even moving them from vehicle to vehicle making sure not to produce stress marks, and such just from moving them, or them hitting on something.
Quoting ♥His Mimi♥:" Thanks ladies! :) I'm glad people like it, I thought people were going to say " :roll: who cares, car seat nazi!" lol"
Hehe I'm a car seat nazi! lmao. I take my car seats apart regularly to check them for stress marks fix the straps if they get twisted so on.