If you have a child, you undoubtedly understand the importance of strapping him or her into a size-appropriate car seat. After all, not only do car seats increase your child’s chances of surviving a car accident, but Tennessee law also requires you to use one.
Shopping for a new car seat for your son or daughter may give you some sticker shock. If you do not want to spend hundreds of dollars for a seat your child is likely to outgrow in just a few months, you may be considering purchasing a used car seat. Doing so, though, may not be safe.
The car seat’s history
All car seats in the U.S. must comply with certain safety standards. While a used seat may have been perfectly safe in the past, you do not know much about its history. Specifically, you may not be able to determine whether the seat has been through a car accident.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, parents should discontinue the use of car seats that have been through moderate or severe car accidents. Because these seats may have virtually invisible cracks or other damage, they may no longer provide effective protection for your child.
Your shopping strategy
If you simply must buy a used car seat, you should be careful. Before paying for the seat, inspect it closely for any visible signs of damage. If there is any damage to the plastic, straps, buckles or anything else, do not buy the seat. This includes minor damage.
Ultimately, if you can afford a new car seat, purchasing one gives you the sort of peace of mind all parents want.