Q I just got a used infant car seat. Is there a place online I can go to see if it is safe?
A Hand-me-downs are great for the family budget and the environment, but you are smart not to skimp on safety. Motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of death for children and proper use of child safety seats can reduce infant death by 71 percent.
Used car seats should be relatively new, free of cracks or damage and without a history of vehicle accidents. Avoid car seats without a manufacturer's label or model information and use the following resources to confirm the safety of any used seat.
Double-check safety standards. Contact the car seat manufacturer to find out if your model meets safety standards. Seatcheck.org offers a list of popular car seat manufacturer hotlines and websites. Child car seat safety information is available on the American Academy of Pediatrics' site, healthychildren.org.
Look up recalls. The National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA.gov) and Safercar.org offer updated child seat recall lists. Apps like Recalls.gov (for Android) and All Recalls (for iPhone) are handy for looking up product recalls when you're browsing a neighborhood rummage sale or resale shop.
Register your seat. Manufacturers are required to notify consumers in the case of a recall. If your seat is not currently on a recall list, make sure to register it in case of future safety alerts. You can register seats at Safercar.gov or directly with the seat manufacturer in most cases.
Don't forget installation. Used products often don't come with instructions or packaging. To make sure you are installing the seat correctly, visit the manufacturer's website and see if you can get a copy of the installation and assembly instructions for your product's model number.
Sharon Cindrich is a mother of two tech-savvy kids from Virginia Beach. Learn more at sharoncindrich.com.
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