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Would you use a refurbished car seat?

Submitted by jrlaw on Sep 8th, 2009

It’s not just based on how old your child is or their weight. Did you know that a car seat may need to be replaced after an accident? But, not all accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), you should consider the level of a crash to determine if the seat needs to be replaced or not.

If it is a moderate or severe crash, the seat should be replaced. If it is a minor crash, the seat does not need to be replaced. Here is how the NHTSA defines a minor crash and what to look for.

    Minor crashes are those that meet ALL of the following criteria:
  • The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site;
  • The vehicle door nearest the safety seat was undamaged;
  • There were no injuries to any of the vehicle occupants;
  • The air bags (if present) did not deploy; AND
  • There is no visible damage to the safety seat

What happens to the car seats from a minor crash? They are refurbished and resold. How do you know if these are safe for your child? Most experts recommend not using refurbished car seats as there is no evidence that they remain stable or safe. New York State recommends following these guidelines when opting to buy a refurbished car seat but they let you know there is no way of knowing they are safe. You can also get more details on car seat reuse at NHTSA. Most importantly, if you do not know the history of your child’s car seat, you can follow this safety checklist from CPSafety to determine if the car seat is something you should use or discard. Know before you use!

Don't miss out on having your car seat checked out. The Texas Department of State Health Services runs a free check throughout the state on various dates. Check to see when they will be in your area next.