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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