Cash strapped parents could be putting their children’s safety at risk by buying second hand infant car seats, industry experts have warned.
New figures show that purchases of pre-owned child travel seats are rising, as families struggle to cope with today’s difficult economic conditions.
Car accessories retailer Halfords reports that 7% of its customers admit they have recently bought second hand car seats for their children, a rise of 2% compared to figures from its 2009 customer survey.
This is despite the fact that it can be virtually impossible to tell how old a second hand child seat is, if it has been involved in an accident, or even how to fit it, as most are rarely sold with the original fitting instructions or safety manuals.
“A lot of wear-and-tear on a pre-owned child car seat may not be visible to the untrained eye and buckles and straps that look fine at first glance may actually be so damaged that they could fail during an accident,” warned Halfords Child Travel Expert Samantha Preece.
“We know from our own research that 51% of parents do not know how to check if their child seat is correctly fitted, so it is a big worry that some people may buy a second hand car seat that doesn’t even come with instructions.”
Statistics on car accidents involving children are stark: every year 30 children between the ages of 0 to 11 years are killed, 400 seriously injured and over 7,000 slightly injured while travelling in cars 1. A correctly fitted car seat can help prevent some of these injuries.
Robert Anslow, managing director of the Baby Products Association, explained: “Generally a car seat will be used numerous times each day for many years and the BPA can’t stress enough the importance of buying new from a retailer who can provide expert product advice and the correct fitting instructions, which in the event of an accident, could save their child’s life.”
Samantha Preece added: “Some child seats will last for around 12 years, so given the added protection to the child and the peace of mind for the parent, a new child seat, correctly fitted, is an investment worth making.”