A Guide To Buying Used Car Seats: 20 Hacks

The arrival of the baby not only implies physical changes, it also means a greater economic investment. Babies are beautiful but they are expensive, and this is because parents-to-be must acquire thousands of items and products to ensure the proper development of the baby is met. The list can seem endless: how to swaddle, where to sleep, buying formula, buying clothes, baby bottles, diapers, breast milk extractors, toys etc... 

For this reason, many parents try to save money when it comes to buying certain items, and that's the reason why today it's so common for parents to buy second-hand products. And although that can be a great solution in certain situations, it doesn't work for everything. Many times parents-to-be save much more money in the long term by investing in new products.

When it comes to buying car seats,  parents should be careful and shouldn' succumb to impulse purchases just because of the price. They should remember that car seats are a security feature necessary in our lives because they help us to move our children around the city; we must make sure to buy a car seat in good condition and that suits our needs.

Experts in the area always suggest that it is better to buy new products because parents can feel that they are 100% in good condition. But there is also the reality that many parents have tight budgets and can not acquire all the time new things. That's why those parents will find here a survival guide to buy a second-hand car seat.

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

20 Do Not Choose It Just for the Brand and the Price

Via Instagram/ Dino

One of the most common mistakes of parents who want to buy a second-hand car seat is that if they find a seller who is offering the typical expensive and well-known seat for a cheaper price, and they immediately decide to acquire it without checking certain details.

Experts always suggest that a new affordable seat is, hands-down, better than a used name brand seat. What is the point of buying an exclusive brand if it is not in perfect condition?

Something we should keep in mind is that security is a must here, it's not about the brand, awe e need to make sure the seat car is in good conditions and still works correctly.

19 Previously Research Some Brands And Its Reviews

Via Pinterest

Something that can always help parents who do not know where to start is to do an online search. Reviewing forums of parents who have gone through the same process always offers new points of view, which help us to be more careful with our search for a car seat.

Additionally, experts always suggest that parents research on certain brands, and the latest trends in car seats. Knowing what's new and what are the current prices helps parents to make a comparison with those that are being sold second-hand.

It's also advisable to check previous models and check the specifications in order to know what to expect if you find a similar one on sale.

18 It's Always Better Buy A Used Car Seat From Someone You Know

Via Pinterest

If parents need a car seat and have a tight budget, it is always good to ask among their circle of friends if someone is selling one.

Experts explain that most of the time it's safer to buy a used car seat from a friend or relative. First of all, because someone close to us is more likely to be honest with us about the conditions of the seat, and the second one because we can always reach a good economic agreement.

When we deal with a stranger, we must take care of the details and we do not have the guarantee that the person is 100% honest about the use that the car seat had.

17 Make a List With All Your Questions Or Doubts Before Going to See the Car Seat

Via Pinterest

After finishing the online research, it is best to write on paper or make a list on your phone detailing the most important questions we should ask the seller.

Many times, when parents are checking the seat car with the seller, they forget some questions that are of fundamental importance, and after finishing the purchase they realize that they should have asked certain things but they didn't.

That's why many experts suggest doing some previous research, and after that write down the most important questions because if parents carry those questions around with them, then at the moment of the purchase they can always check if they are not forgetting something.

16 Always Double Check the Expiration Date

Via Pinterest

Something that many first-time parents do not know is that car seats have an expiration date. Yes! As you read it. Each model has a stipulated use of time, so it is advisable that the expiration date be one of our top priorities when we check the model we want to buy.

This information usually appears on the bottom of the car seat or on the side. Next to the expiration date we can see another type of information, such as brand, model, serial, manufactured, and where it was made.

If the model we are checking does not have this information in a visible area or the information is blurred, it is best not to make the purchase.

15 Make Sure the Car Seat Was Never in a Crash

Via Tumblr

Manufactures explain that if the car seat was involved in a car crash, it is best to throw away the seat and find a new one. It does not matter if at first sight the seat seems to be in good condition or if the baby was not even sitting in the car seat during the accident.

We must remember that in any car accident the forces to which seats are subjected can cause various types of damage, and this sort of damage is not always seen on the surface.

If a chair has been exposed to an uncontrollable force during a car crash, its operation may have been compromised, and it can not guarantee the child's safety at 100% in any subsequent uses.

14 Make Sure It Comes with All the Parts and the Manual

Via Instagram/ Dino

This is another reason why it is important to review online the model that we like before making the purchase. If we have prior knowledge of what to look for when we are with the seller, then we can identify if a piece is missing- especially if the person does not have the manual of the car seat.

However, I must emphasize that it is always better to buy a seat that has its manual because we do not know if in the future we need to check some information about the seat, and we cannot necessarily find that information online.

Therefore, it is advisable that parents always ask for the manual and check all the pieces, including the spare parts.

13 Inspect the Car Seat Carefully

Via Pinterest

Parents should check the car seat carefully and pay attention to the small details. It's not advisable to let the seller show the seat over a table. Rather, it is important to be thorough at it and check every corner and detail.

In fact, if it's possible, parents should ask the seller if they can try to install it in the their vehicle to see if it fits perfectly and that everything is in order.

Parents must remember that, with this type of item, it is not the same when we see them uninstalled as it is once they get into our cars. It is at that moment when we can realize certain details that otherwise we would not see.

12 Check the Harness Straps

Via Pinterest

According to Rear Facing Toddlers, parents must remember that when it comes to buy a car seat they need to keep in mind the importance of get a good harness strap because "The only thing holding them in place is the seat's five-point harness, so it is vital that that harness is correctly fitted and adjusted."

After checking the expiration date and obvious physical aspects, it's important for parents to check under what conditions are the harness straps. Parents must pay attention to details, such as if they remain firm and if they are easy to put on the baby and unzip it correctly later.

11 Information Gathering

Via Pinterest

The sellers usually place between the images of the seat on a sticker that shows the name of the manufacturer with all the information for the seat, such as model, serial, and name, among others.

So, when parents go to see the seat, it is important to check that the sticker  the seller placed in the ad matches the one on the car seat.

Also, parents must keep in mind that some Eddie Bauer, Costco, and Safety 1st seats don't come with a model name because, back then, those seats didn't use to have individual names. That's why is important to look for models that are not so old in the market.

10 Have It Evaluated by a Certified Child Safety Technician

Via Pinterest

And for those parents who feel that a normal revision is not enough, they always have the option of taking the seat to be evaluated by a certified child passenger safety technician. These technicians have the necessary knowledge and tools to evaluate the true condition of a car seat after its purchase.

Another advantage of going with a specialized technician is that they can always offer us advice and other points of view on the aspects that we must take into account to ensure the safety of our children. To find the right center, parents can google it and see what options are in their city that suit their needs.

9 Make Sure It's in Line with the Baby's Age

Via Pinterest

Nowadays parents can find a wide variety of car seats in the market that offer various benefits for the safety and comfort of our child. But something that parents must take into account is the age and size of their kid, as it's not the same a car seat for a newborn than one for a toddler and their needs change completely.

Some of the aspects that parents should look for are check the harness straps or if the seatbelt is at the correct height for the child, and remember that this it's something we will adjust to fit our child as they grow.

Then we should check if the child restraint they have is the correct one for our child’s size. And finally, we  need to make sure that the seatbelt is threaded through the correct path, with the right tension, and that the buckle is done up.

8 The Car Seat Should Have At Least One Year Left Of Use 

Via Pinterest

Remember! Car seats have an expiration date, so depending on the type of  seat we want to buy, we must verify how many years of useful use it has left. This only applies to seats that have not been involved in traffic accidents.

For parents who want to buy a rear facing only seat, it should have at least 1 year of use left. While parents who are seeking for a convertible seat, it should have between 2 and 3 years of use left because these kind of seats are usually used before the kids make the transition to combination seats.

And finally, if parents are searching for a booster seat, they just need to check if it still has enough time until the kid reaches the age of 10 years old.

7 Make Sure the Seat Can Be Installed Properly in Your Vehicle

Via Pinterest

As we explained previously, it is always important that we check that the seat can be installed without  any problems in our vehicle.

Many times when we buy certain items, we don't take the proper time to make sure that it can be adapted to the place where we want to install it. To avoid future problems, it is better to ask the seller if we can do the test of installing the car seat in our personal car in order to verify that everything works correctly.

These little details like trying the seat in our car can avoid a wrong purchase and loss of money.

6 Check For Recalls

Via Pinterest

Parents should be aware that sometimes a seat can be recalled. The best way to check if the car seat is still on recall is calling the manufacture and asking. Usually, they will ask you to provide the model name, number, and date of manufacture, among other details.Another option is to check the car seat online to see if there is still a chance it has been recalled.

That's why is important to have all the pieces, manual, and information from the seller because, as the new owners of the seat, parents still have a chance to take advantage of the benefits from the manufacture.

5 Always Check for Signs of Stress Or Wear On The Foam

Via Instagram/ Graco

Foam is another fundamental detail that parents should pay attention to when they are buying a second-hand seat. The function of the foam is not only to provide greater comfort for our baby, but the foam also serves to cushion the blow in case of traffic accidents, as it prevents the baby's body from being impacted by external forces.

So, when we are looking for a second-hand car seat, it is important to check the foam of the structure of the seat and the foam in the seatbelts. If the seat shows signs of stress or wear on the foam, it's better to walk away and not invest our money on it.

4 Make Sure When It's Buckled and the Mechanism Lock Securely

Via Instagram/ Fashionkids

In addition to the fact that the car seat should show a good physical condition, one of the most important things we should pay attention to and check are the seatbelts.

Parents should keep in mind that the malfunction of them can bring complications in the future if they do not realize it at the moment of purchase. Many experts and manufactures suggest that parents need to make sure when it's buckled that the mechanism locks securely.

So, do not let the seller be the only one to show you if it works or not. It is good to try it ourselves, and if possible to try it on with the child sitting on the seat.

3 Always Check for Signs of Rust or Corrosion

Via Pinterest

Reviewing the physical condition may be the most obvious of the list. But often there are areas in the car seat that pass unnoticed to our eyes. It is important to take our time and let the seller know that we want to check everything and be sure that the seat is in good conditions.

If parents are dealing with a fussy seller, experts suggest that they should avoid the purchase in those cases because it is essential that the seller offers the necessary time to check the seat properly. Sometimes, for example, the car seat can present signs of rust or corrosion in places not that obvious, so those are details that we can only perceive if we have enough time to check the seat. T

hat's why it is always advisable to check the bottom of the seat and the sides, and look for those signs.

2 Make Sure the Seller Knows the Entire History of the Seat

Via Pinterest

Another mistake that many parents make when they are buying a second-hand car seat is that they do not try to investigate the history of the seat.

We should not just stick with what our eyes and hands perceive, it is always important to ask certain questions. One of the most important is "was this seat involved in a traffic accident?" or "for how long was it used?"- those are details that are important and we can't perceive just with a visual check of the seat.

Many times the seller may forget to mention certain details, but if  the parents, as buyers, are prepared and know what they need to ask, they can get as much information as possible about the use the item.

1 Try Not to Buy The Car Seat Online

Via Pinterest

Time is gold! And online shopping has been a blessing for many, especially for parents who face the difficulty of finding a balance between their family life and their work. But when it comes to buying second-hand children's products for our kids, it's best to forget about online shopping.

If we do not have the guarantee of being able to see the product and review it before making the purchase, it is best to avoid it. There are many details that can not be appreciated by means of photos or videos, for example, the condition of the foam or if the belt works perfectly.

Parents should make sure to find a seller that allows them to see the car seat, and be able to draw their own conclusions.

References: babycenter.ca.safekids.orgverywellfamily.comthecarseatlady.com

More in Did You Know...